James E. Enstrom

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

James E. Enstrom Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Research Professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.[1] He specializes in epidemiologic research, particularly focusing on low-risk populations and important public health issues. Since 1976 he has been a UCLA faculty member; since 1981 he has been a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.

Enstrom is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Council on Science and Health, according to ACSH's website.[2]

NOTE: James Enstrom himself has commented on this SourceWatch article.

James Enstrom is a speaker at the America First Energy Conference to be held on November 9th, 2017. [1]

Enstrom & Tobacco

Enstrom is a controversial figure who has accepted funding from the Philip Morris tobacco company and the Center for Indoor Air Research (a tobacco industry front group), and subsequently published research that contradicted scientific consensus about the health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, or ETS. [2]

Tobacco companies have used Enstrom's work to help confuse the public about the causative link between tobacco smoke and disease. For example, a 1992 British American Tobacco (BAT) handbook titled Smoking Issues Claims and Responses counsels BAT employees to publicly deny that smoking causes lung cancer, claiming that statistics have failed to be conclusive on the question. The manual cites Enstrom as one of the "eminent scientists" who has "questioned the evidence on smoking and lung cancer because of its many inconsistencies." Pages 8-9 of 170 page manual

In 1997 Enstrom wrote to Richard Carchman, Director of Scientific Affairs at Philip Morris, asking for $150,000 to study the link between environmental tobacco smoke and mortality rates. Enstrom wrote, "A substantial research commitment on your part is necessary in order for me to effectively compete against the large mountain of epidemiologic data and opinions that already exist regarding the health effects of ETS and active smoking." [3] Also in 1997, Max Eisenberg, Director of the tobacco industry-funded CIAR, held discussions with Enstrom and epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat of the State University of New York in Stoneybrook, about the possibility of their collaboration.[4] The same year, Philip Morris granted Enstrom $150,000 (in the form of two payments of $75,000) to fund a project titled "Relationship of low levels of active smoking to mortality." [5] [6]

In 2003 Enstrom and Kabat published an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) titled, Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians 1960-98. The study was based on a dataset collected by the American Cancer Society for the purpose of measuring the health effects of active smoking rather than passive smoking. Enstrom's article was controversial for its finding that secondhand tobacco smoke was less harmful than previously believed. Enstrom and Kabat wrote that "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed." [7]

BMJ received approximately 150 "rapid response" letters to the article, most of which sharply criticized Enstrom's findings. [8] One of the respondents was Michael J. Thun, Vice President and head of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, who pronounced Enstrom and Kabat's study "fatally flawed" because "no information was obtained on sources of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke [in the dataset] other then smoking status of the spouse," and "tobacco smoke was so pervasive in the United states in the 1950s and 1960s that virtually everyone was exposed at home, at work or in other settings." Enstrom responded by saying Thun had been unable to "identify a single error" in the study and that his "attack should be seen for what it is--an attempt to discredit work that is at variance with the position he's committed to." [9]

In 1999 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brought a massive lawsuit against the major U.S. cigarette manufacturers alleging that the companies had collaborated in an elaborate, decades-long conspiracy to deceive the American public about the health effects of active smoking and secondhand smoke. In August 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. ruled against the companies. The court's Final Opinion contains a detailed timeline (starting in Section 5, paragraph #3781, on Page 1380) describing communication between Philip Morris and Enstrom to produce the 2003 BMJ study, and describes how the American Cancer Society had repeatedly warned Enstrom that using its CPS-I data in the manner he was using it would lead to unreliable results. The court's Final Opinion cites the 2003 Enstrom/Kabat study as a significant part of the companies' conspiratorial enterprise against the American public. [10]

NOTE: James Enstrom himself has commented on this SourceWatch article.

Enstrom's Work on Particulate Matter

On June 12, 2006, the Integrity in Science Project (which investigates and publicizes conflicts of interest and other potentially destructive influences of industry-sponsored science), on its web site published an electronic newsletter, Integrity in Science Watch, which included an article about Enstrom titled Tobacco Scientist Moves on to Particular Matter. The article said "The Electrical Power Research Institute hired James E. Enstrom of the University of California at Los Angeles to analyze 30 years of air pollution data. His recently published analysis, which showed PM [particulate matter] had no effect on mortality after the initial ten years of the study, is now being used by industry trade groups...in arguing against a tighter PM standard. Enstrom's study, published in Inhalation Technology, was subsequently questioned in the same journal by Bert Brunekreef, a highly-regarded professor of environmental health at Utrecht University in the Netherlands." [11] The Integrity in Science Project is a project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Enstrom has started a website, Scientific Integrity Institute, to defend his research and respond to criticisms of it. [12]

Contact Details

University of California Los Angeles, School of Public Health
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Email: jenstrom AT ucla.edu


Scientific Integrity Institute
914 Westwood Blvd. #577
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Email: president AT scientificintegrityinstitute.org Website: http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.com/

Other SourceWatch Resources


  1. "James E. Enstrom, Ph.D.", UCLA's Jonnson Comprehensive Care Center"], accessed March 2008.
  2. "Trustees and Founders Circle", accessed March 2008.

External links

Biographical Notes

  • UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, "James E. Enstrom,", accessed October 2006.
  • American Council on Science and Health, "Board of Trustees", accessed October 20, 2006.

Articles By Enstrom

General Articles

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