Heartland Institute Questions Media Strategy Surrounding Release of Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Smoking

Published March 8, 2012

Experts from The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank, today strongly questioned the Office of the Surgeon General’s release strategy for a report on youth smoking.

The report was the subject of numerous media reports posted around Midnight Eastern Time on March 8, 2012 but had not been made available to the public or the scientific community at large as of 9:30 a.m. ET the next morning. Likewise, no advance notice of the report’s contents was released to the public. Heartland experts say any comments on the contents of the 899-page report are thus premature.

The following statements may be used for attribution. For additional comments, please use the contact information below.

“The Office of the Surgeon General’s actions violate common standards of scientific practice.

“The report was apparently given only to a select number of media outlets who, best as we can tell, contacted only groups with an agenda that involves tobacco prohibition or something close to it. This isn’t illegal but it’s irregular. The report is almost 900 pages; neither I nor anyone else not on the Surgeon General’s list has had access to the report.

“Many of the conclusions reported in the media today appear dubious at best, since it’s premature for anybody to comment on it without reading it.”

Dr. Brad Rodu
Senior Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Professor of Medicine
The Graham Brown Cancer Center
University of Louisville
[email protected]

“We’re interested in finding out how and why the Surgeon General’s Office chose this highly unusual and irregular release strategy as a way of spinning the report. As such, we intend to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the office in order to obtain records related to propaganda-led strategy.

“Based on the media reports I have read, many of the conclusions the report appear to lack grounding in peer-reviewed scientific literature.”

Eli Lehrer
Vice President
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.