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Prof calls for tests of low-tar cigarettes

2012-04-18 16:15 Global Times     Web Editor: Xu Rui comment

Sun Yan, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Engineering proposed Monday that low-tar cigarettes should be tested in clinical trials to find out whether they can really reduce harm as the packets claim, reported the Beijing News Tuesday.

Sun is one of the 30 academicians who have spoken out against a nomination for research into low-tar tobacco by China Tobacco, affiliated to the State Tobacco Monopoly, in the 2012 National Awards for Science and Technology.

The awards recognize breakthroughs in science and technology.

"If no one else is willing, we can do the clinical tests," Sun told the Beijing News, emphasizing that data from clinical research must be shown before claiming low-tar can reduce any harm from smoking.

Scholars from the medical department of the Chinese Academy of Engineering think the tar in cigarettes may be reduced chemically, but it will not reduce harm, and they expect the data will reflect this assumption, the report said.

According to the website of the National Office for Science and Technology Awards, the "research result" has been used by tobacco groups, including Hongyun Honghe group in Yunnan Province, and Hunan Industrial Co Ltd.

"Controversy over tobacco research is just one of many between scientific technology and ethics, and ethical problems are usually neglected when convenience and advantage from technology are shown," Hu Xinhe, a professor studying philosophy of technology with China Academy of Sciences, told China Youth Daily on April 10.

The Ministry of Science and Technology and China Tobacco could not be reached for comment yesterday.


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