The IADR and AADOCR Policy Statement on Tobacco Funded Research

P. Arany, F. Cieplik, N. Damé-Teixeira, T. Do, Xin Li, H. Priya, B. Wu, Yau-Hua Yu, M.K.S. Charles-Ayinde, and C. Fox

Tobacco products, whether used through active or passive smoking (e.g. cigarettes or cigars) or smoke-free (e.g. heated tobacco products, inhaled, or chewing tobacco products), are overwhelmingly detrimental to human health. Tobacco is uniquely dangerous to public health in the scale of harm it causes when used precisely as directed. Notwithstanding any ritualistic and social aspects, all forms of tobacco use are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco (World Health Organization, 2023). Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year, including an estimated 1.3 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke (World Health Organization, 2023) and up to two-thirds of long-term tobacco users will die from tobacco-related conditions such as cerebrovascular disease, cancer and respiratory disease (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, 2020). Tobacco’s main psychoactive drug, nicotine, is highly addictive, making it very difficult to quit (U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2022). Tobacco product usage is almost always initiated and established during adolescence (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). Tobacco use remains the single most impactful risk factor for poor health, impoverishment and death globally (World Health Organization, 2023, Perez-Warnisher et al. 2018). 

Tobacco Company - sponsored Research in IADR Journals and IADR / AADOCR Meetings

Tobacco Company Overview

A “Tobacco Company” is a company, entity or organization or groups or combinations of the same whose business other than for an insignificant part (i.e., less than 10% of its revenue) is the development, production, promotion, marketing, or sale of tobacco in any country of the world or is a subsidiary or a holding company or affiliate of the same (Wellcome Trust, 2023). In addition to combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars, they also include electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco products (e.g., chewing tobacco, moist snuff or snus) and heat-not-burn tobacco products.

History of Unethical Conduct

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control notes that “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests”. The tobacco industry has been aware of the serious health consequences of its products for decades and sought to conceal this evidence from the public. There is evidence of the dishonest behavior of the tobacco industry including suppressing research findings on the harmful effects of tobacco, distorting research evidence, and actively coercing researchers to bias positive views on smoking risk (Brownell KD et al 2009, Brandt AM 2012, Cancer Research UK 2019, American Lung Association 2023). The tobacco industry has made significant attempts to aggressively promote its products, especially to women, the young, racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community (Acosta-Deprez et al., 2021), the poor, and low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) (Brown-Johnson CG et al. 2014, World Health Organization 2020). Today, tobacco companies continue to use scientific publications and misinformation to influence public opinion and policy including tobacco company-funded research that suggests that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes, even though there is evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful to health (Hendlin YH et al. 2019, Smith MJ et al. 2021). The global tobacco industry also lobbies against government regulations that aim to reduce tobacco use. Indeed, tobacco companies are known to fund research for lobbying strategies to block, amend and delay effective public health policies such as marketing, packaging, and point-of-sale restrictions to minors.

Additionally, the tobacco industry has also been shown to be involved in a large number and diverse range of scientific events (Matthes BK et al. 2023). The focus of the events ranged from toxicology (28.2%), medicine (11.7%), to dentistry (4.2%) – the latter was attributed to the increasing importance of newer nicotine and tobacco products (Matthes BK et al. 2023). Event participation mostly took the form of the delivery of posters (55.4%) and oral presentations (30.5%) (Matthes BK et al. 2023). Scientific events provide platforms for tobacco companies to disseminate their messages, normalize their presence within academic settings and present themselves as legitimate stakeholders in evidence production and evidence-based decision making.  

Policy Statement

In light of the tobacco industry’s long history of deception and its ongoing efforts to undermine public health, the International Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research (IADR) and the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) will not accept symposia sessions or abstract submissions for IADR or AADOCR meetings that present research funded, in whole or in part, by a tobacco company (as defined above). Additionally, IADR and AADOCR jointly own the Journal of Dental Research (JDR) and the JDR Clinical &Translational Research. These journals will not consider papers in which support, in whole or in part, comes from a tobacco company. That support includes funding for research personnel, the research study itself, or publication and/or ancillary charges. It is well established that tobacco companies use peer-reviewed journals to promote their products or cast doubt on the adverse health effects of tobacco product usage. Companies also use paid or sponsored content to promote their products or to influence public policy. It is therefore unethical and irresponsible to support the reputation of the tobacco industry. By refusing to publish papers or allow conference presentations that are supported by tobacco companies, IADR and AADOCR are protecting public health and promoting the integrity of scientific research.

Author Contributions

P. Arany, F. Cieplik, N. Damé-Teixeira, and T. Do contributed to design, data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation, drafted and critically revised the manuscript, all members of the IADR and AADOCR Science Information Committee Task Force, contributed to conception and design, critically revised the manuscript. M.K.S. Charles-Ayinde contributed to conception, design, and interpretation of the manuscript; C. Fox contributed to the conception and critically revised the manuscript. All authors gave final approval and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.


The members of the 2023 IADR and AADOCR Science Information Committee were P. Arany, F. Cieplik, N. Damé-Teixeira, T. Do, Xin Li, H. Priya, B. Wu, and Yau-Hua Yu. The IADR and AADOCR Science Information Committee thanks all members of the Task Force for providing subject matter expertise during the drafting of the policy statement.

The authors received no financial support and declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.