Privately, B&W and BAT have conducted internal research on environmental tobacco smoke, most of which has supported the conclusion that ETS is dangerous to health. The reports from BAT's annual research conferences show that BAT has identified harmful substances in sidestream smoke, including glycoproteins and tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines. In addition, the reports imply that sidestream smoke was "biologically active," and therefore potentially carcinogenic, in BAT's laboratory tests. BAT researchers were working throughout the 1980s to develop a new cigarette that would emit less sidestream smoke.
In contrast, the documents also show that, in their public pronouncements, B&W, BAT, and the tobacco industry in general have actively sought to mislead the public about the dangers of passive smoking. BAT's conference reports state that BAT and B&W were engaged in research to "refute the evidence" that passive smoking is dangerous. In addition, US tobacco companies jointly funded "special projects" related to ETS. In at least one case, data from a special project were apparently falsified to make passive smoking appear less harmful than it actually is. Also, according to its conference reports, BAT had a policy of "no disclosure" regarding internal research on the health effects of ETS. The tobacco industry has also publicly attacked scientific research on ETS in order to "create a controversy" over the evidence that passive smoking is dangerous. In at least one case, it publicly attacked research that its own consultants had privately acknowledged was valid.
Finally, the tobacco industry has actively sought to block efforts to minimize the exposure of nonsmokers to tobacco smoke. Although the industry states publicly that it is motivated by a dedication to freedom of choice, its true motivation is maintenance of profits.
Taken together, the documents demonstrate that the tobacco industry's strategy regarding passive smoking has been virtually identical to its strategy regarding active smoking. It has privately conducted internal research, which has largely supported the evidence that passive smoking is dangerous to health, while it has publicly denied that the dangers have been proven.