Sheldon C Sommers

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Sheldon C Sommers (aka 'Charlie') was a pathologist who became Scientific Director of the tobacco industry's own Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) which specialised in funding spurious research from dubious scientists under secret accounts.

Sommers was a member of the CTR Scientific Advisory Board from 1966 to 1989, and its Chairman from 1981 to 1987. Between 1969 and 1972, John J McCloy was an Honorary Life Trustee of Lenox Hill Hospital, whose Chairman expressed the Board of Trustees' gratitude to the Council for Tobacco Research for funding the work of Sheldon Sommers. McCloy was also the Chairman of the Salk Institute, whose trustees engaged in assorted anti-smoking activism.

Documents & Timeline

1959 Aug 10 EB Wilson is not at all keen about Sommers doing studies on his own. (before he joined the CTR or SAB) Wants to team him with Seltzer or someone else 11319714

1963 Sep 13 He is Associate Pathologist, Columbia Uni Seltzer, Ross Mclean, Garland, Sommers, Barach and CB Thomas on a William I Fishbein panel for Chicago Board of Health. Plan to autopsy 200 geriatric patients. PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1 PATHO-PHYSIOLOGY OF THE LUNG IN TWO HUNDRED GERIATRIC PATIENTS 50025824/5827 NO MENTION OF THIS AT THE TIME, ONLY LATER IN 1964

1963 Oct 25 Little sends letter to him (and many other participants in a recent TIRC symposium, requesting evaluation of a proposal. 50026029/6029

1964 Mar 5 The Council for Tobacco Research circulates a "Summary of Dr [Robert] Hockett's Comments" on the Surgeon General's report.

This Report has not actually changed the scientific picture to any degree and contains little that is new. It did not lift the critical analysis of existing data to any new or higher plane. Like most committee jobs, it is uneven in quality, some sections being quite competent while others seem to us quite inadequate. Nevertheless, the Report has put a spotlight on certain problems and has rather reduced the limelight on others. To some extent, this will influence the amount of emphasis we need to put on certain things and the tempo of our program in some areas.

He identifies

  • Statistical Aspects: The Report relies heavily on epidemiological data... and "associations do not prove causality."

    We have consulted a considerable number of statistical experts about the Report. Nearly all these are in agreement that the associations of disease incidence with cigarette smoking must be accepted as established. They do not expect that any re-study or re-casting of the present data will destroy the associations. They do not think that any errors in mathematical method will be found.[SNIP] On the other hand, public commentaries by experts in the field who are unconnected with The Council, published over their own signatures will have value. We expect such commentaries to be published by Dr [Joseph] Berkson.

    Mr. Alan Donnahoe

    Mr. Alan Donnahoe has already published such a commentary, and we are furnishing him with all information we have that bears upon the questions he has raised, in the expectation that he may write still another commentary. [SNIP] The Council staff has an appointment to discuss the Report with Dr Theodore D. Sterling of the Medical Computing Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine next week. We hope to arrange for him to write a commentary on the Report for the guidance of The Council staff in research planning. [SNIP]

  • Epidemiological Field "Patterns of Living"

    The Council has already, for some time, been exploring many hints and leads concerning differences between smokers and non-smokers. Such work is slow and systematic. It must be continued. However, because of the impact of the Surgeon General's Report, a more direct and massive attack needs also to be made. [SNIP]

    The studies already underway with Drs. Seltzer, Fisher, Kaplan and Russek also are aimed at similar objectives -- to distinguish differences between smokers and non-smokers that may have effects on health not due to the smoking itself.
  • Length of Life (animal studies)

    In relatively small-scale experiments, rats have been exposed to frequent cigarette smoke inhalation for comparison with unexposed controls. The exposed animals lived as long as the controls.

  • Endocrone and Genetic Factors Dr Boris Sokoloff, editor of a journal called Growth which publishes papers on both normal and abnormal growth and hence includes much material on cancer, has written a critique of the Surgeon General's Report called The Endocrine and Genetic Factors in Cancer of the Iung - A Review .

    He mentions the work of Dr Sheldon Somers who has attended several of our planning conferences and is now associated with one of our projects at Columbia University.

  • Benefits of Smoking (nicotine effects)` Dr [Edward] Domino has discovered a direct action of nicotine on the brain which he calls an "arousal" effect. Now he is trying to find out how this actually affects the behavior of rats.

    Similar studies are being done by Dr Barbara Brown, Dr [Hector Carlos] Sabelli, and proposed by Dr [Norman] Heimstra. In Italy, Dr [Daniel] Bouvet has observed that nicotine may improve the learning ability of rats under suitable conditions (not a CTR-sponsored study).

  • Chronic Lung Disease.

    A review and critique of Chapter 10 of the Surgeon General's Report is being written by Dr Israel Rappaport who expects to publish it. He has many criticisms of the material in this chapter. We have also encountered an excellent review of the problems of bronchitis and emphema by Dr George Wright of Cleveland.
    Chronic lung diseases are now being studied through a grant by The Council as part of a large-scale prospective clinical investigation in Chicago in cooperation with the Chicago Board of Health. This has been started as a pilot study with the expectation that it will continue and expand for several years.
    A similar study has been proposed by Dr Maurice Segal of Boston, with whom we have worked before. This is now under consideration by our Board. The large clinical study at Seton Hall College of Medicine continues and we are participating through Dr [Gustave] Laurenzi and Dr Gooke.
    We are also sponsoring two basic studies on the natural "surfactant" material in lungs that is essential for their proper function ([Susan] Buckingham and [Louis] Soloff). It is suspected that a lack of this substance may have something to do with the development of emphysema.

  • Cardiovascular Disease

    [SNIP] Our study under Drs. [Jack P] Strong and [Henry C] McGill is continuing. In this, the arteries of accident victims are being examined minutely to determing their condition, especially the amount of hardening and thickening of the walls. The arteries of smokers and non-smokers are then being compared. A similar study by Wilens and Plair (not under CTR) showed no substantial difference,

1964 Mar 5 Summary of Dr Hockett's Comments on the Surgeon General's Report

"Dr Sheldon Sommers who attended several of out planning conferences and is now associated with one of our projects at Columbia University."


1965 This is a Philip Morris draft defence document outlining the position of the tobacco industry in countering the proposal requiring cigarette companies to add warning lables to their packets. It mentions the wording on the Italian label proposals. They are reacting to the fall-out from the 1964 Surgeon-General's Report into Smoking & Health the year before. It suggests that the reader ''" "see the statements of the witnesses listed on the attached sheet as Statisticians, Epidemiologists and BioStatisticians, particularly Prof Brownlee." " The document has a number of lists of specialists who can be called upon to support them in a Congressional hearing (divided by specialist category)

These are the tobacco industry witnesses by category in 1965.
Statistician, Epidemiologists, Biostatisticians
Prof K Alexander Brownlee Mr Alan S Donnahoe Dr Leonard A Katz,
Dr George L Saiger Mr Darrell Huff Dr Theodor D Sterling
Dr Thomas J Moran, Dr Douglas H Sprunt, Dr William B Ober
Dr Raymond H Rigdon Dr Ferdinand C Helwig Dr William H Carnes
Dr Harry SN Greene Sheldon C Sommers,
Chest Physicians
Dr Milton S Rosenblatt Dr Alvis Greer Dr Israel Rappaport
Thoracic Surgeons
Dr John H Mayer Jr Dr Duanne Carr Dr Raymond J Barrett
Dr Hiram Langston Dr Thomas Burford
Dr Harold G Tabb Dr Joseph H Ogura Dr Alden H Miller
Dr George A Sisson Dr Louis H Cleft
Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases
Dr Joseph B Wolffe Dr Henry Russek Dr Sigmund L Wilens
Dr Sherman Kaplan Dr Henry E McMahon
Dr L Henry Garland
General Surgeons
Dr Ian MacDonald Dr Jack M Faris
Psychosomatic Medicine
Dr Bernice C Sachs
Dr William JE Crissy Prof Frank M Bass Dr Darrell B Lucas
Dr John J Kennedy Dr Charles Winick
Tobacco Industry Staff Scientists/Executives
CTR's Clarence C Little & Robert C Hockett; RJ Reynolds' Bowman Gray and (the code tzar) Robert B Meyner

1965 /E This is a Tobacco Institute list of collaborating scientists who can be trusted to give pro-industry support. It appears to be a list created to oppose the Magnuson and Neuberger Bills on Advertising and Labeling of tobacco products. Shelton (sic) Sommers is listed among the Pathologists as an industry helper.

1965 Was working with Dr Jacob Furth at Delafield Hospital, and submitted grant application to CTR in 1965/6 2075562553 (19980730)

1965 /E This is either a Tobacco Institute or Philip Morris list of collaborating scientists who can be trusted to give pro-industry support at an up-coming Congressional hearing into the need for warning labels on cigarette packs. Sommers is listed among the Pathologists as an industry helper.

1965 Congressional testimony - no mention of tobacco funding 680007484/7489

1965 Dec invited by CTR to become a member of the SAB 1003041329

1965 Dec 10 - 12 Report of the CTR's 3-day SAB meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

The Chairman read a letter in which Dr Paul Kotin tendered his resignation.

The Board accepted his resignation with regrets, and instructed the Executive Director to write expressing its regrets and the Board's appreciation of Dr Kotin's services.

The Board discussed the recruitment of additional members. In connectioa therewith, the staff was authorized to invite Dr Carl C Seltzer of the Harvard University School of Public Health and Dr Sheldon C Sommers of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to the March Board meeting.

1966 Feb 28 William Shinn (Lawyer of Shook Hardy & Bacon) has sent his partner a list of the doctors (and others) who testified for the tobacco industry at the Congressional Hearings, with notes about how much confidentially each requires through the distribution of transcripts, quotes, etc.. He states:

33. Dr. Sheldon Sommers: No objection, except does not want statement used in connection with advertising.

1966 Apr 6 Participants at one of the CTR's Informal Scientific Conferences. These generally included both genuine researchers and tobacco-friendly scientists. "Constitutional Factors as Related to Disease." The participants were:

  • Dr. Roger K. Larson, Chief of Medicine, The Presno County General Hospital
  • Mr. Charles L. Rose , Coordinator, Normative Aging Study, Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic, Boston
  • Dr Carl C. Seltzer, Department of Nutrition, Harvard University School of Public Health,
  • Dr. Sheldon C. Sommers, Professor of Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
  • Dr Caroline Bedell Thomas , Associate Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, The Johns Jopkins University
  • Mr. Kurt Enslein, Consulting Engineer on Computer Systems, Rochester
  • Dr. Alvan R. Feinstein, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Dr. John W. Fertig, Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine, Columbia University
  • Mr. Marco Fiorentino, The University of Texas--M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute
  • Mr. Edward A. Lew, Vice President and Actuary, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  • Miss Annie M. Lyle, formerly Actuary, The Prudential Life Insurance Company
  • Miss Eleanor J. Macdonald, Epidemiologist, The University of Texas-MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute
  • Dr. Thomas F. Mancuso, Research Professor, Department of Occupational Health, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. Bernice C. Sachs, Medical Staff, Group Health Clinic, Seattle

1966 May A medical doctor listed as giving evidence in Congressional Inquiry into labelling for the industry 2015033071 and 2015033067

1966 May Sommers is being listed by lawyer Alex Holtzman of Philip Morris as having given evidence for the industry at the Congressional Hearings into cigarette labelling. Organizing the witnesses for this hearing appears to have been a Philip Morris operation conducted through Kansas City lawyers, Shook Hardy & Bacon (rather than the Tobacco Institute). Holtzman is sending copies of the statements to Toney File (sic) of the Tobacco Institute.

1966 Nov 23 Sheldon Sommers joined Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the CTR/TIRC. He is listed as "Sheldon C Somers, MD , Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Dr . Sommers has had broad experience in medicine, research, and particularly with regard to cancer . Prior to coming on the Board, he has been extremely cooperative and helpful to the Board in many of its deliberations." ++++

1967 -- 89 TIRC/CTR SAB member

1967 Mar Joined Scientific Advisory Board 1003041311

1968 - 89 Member of the TIRC/CTR Scientific Advisory Board [Another source says he joined the SAB at the same time as Looslie which was in 1966] Columbia University

1968 Feb 13 The advertising/PR strategy firm, Tiderock Corp. (Rosser Reeves) are involved in preparing a "Big Book" for the Tobacco Institute They were planning to have Macmillan approach the people independently.
[presumably with no mention of tobacco industry involvement]

Note that those listed on the first three pages, have been PAIRED -- with one PRO-tobacco and one ANTI -- yet both are in the same scientific discipline. The idea obviously was to play off the quotes, one against the other, to promote the idea that there was still doubt about the dangers of cigarettes because these scientists couldn't agree.
This person is listed by Tiderock among the potential pro-smoking authors in the proposed book.

Dr Sheldon C Sommers

Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,

[Has been paired with anti-tobacco:]

Dr Paul Kotin

Director of Division of Environmental Health Sciences, Public Health Service, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

[Also NOTE:] The last two pages hold a list of tobacco-associates and known tobacco-friendly scientists who always supported the tobacco industry (but who are not included in the list above). These were regular grant-takers and commissioned scientist who made a business from promoting the industry and could be safely used as witnesses, or be paid to produce published propaganda material. Everyone on this list has taken pro-tobacco positions.

Reliable tobacco industry witnesses
Dr Raymond J Barrett,     Dr William N Carnes, Dr Louis Cleft,
Dr Henry Garland ('late')     Hans J Eysenck,   Dr Alvis Greer,
Dr Ferdinand Helwig, Dr William C Heuper, Dr Charles Kensler,
Dr Hiram Langston, Dr Israel Rappaport, Dr Stanley Reimann,
Dr RN Rigdon, Dr Milton S Rosenblatt, Dr Bernice Sachs,
Dr Boris Sokologg, Dr Douglas Sprunt, Dr Percy Stocks,
Dr Harold G Tabb.

1968 Feb 13 Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 West 163th St., New York. Listed by Tiderock among the potential pro-smoking authors in a proposed book Tiderock are involved in preparing a "Big Book" for the Tobacco Institute (See lists of possible writers - including pro and anti) They were planning to have Macmillan approach the people independently (with no mention of tobacco company?) Note that on the first three pages, the names are PAIRED - one PRO and one ANTI. The idea was to play off the quotes, one against the other, to promote the idea that scientists couldn't agree. The last three pages are a list of known scientists who were friendly to the tobacco industry, either regular grant-takers and witnesses, or those genuine scientists who had reservations about some of the anti-smoking science.

1968 Jun 27 William Kloepfer of the Tobacco Institute has written to Rosser Reeves at the strategy company Tiderock Corp . (on a first name basis). This was about the collaboration between the tobacco industry and the AMA (known as AMA Education & Research Foundation or AMA-ERF). Tiderock appears to have proposed the idea of funding an AMA research program back in June at a joint company meeting.

  • Kloepfer and Reeves had met earlier this month to discuss the AMA-ERF. Tiderock had been commissioned for two activities.
  • Both the position paper and the advertising project are still needed. However events in San Francisco last week have reduced the urgency of publication. This was the June 19 release by the AMA-ERF of a report on joint research.
    • [Daniel] Horn of the American Cancer Society has been urging the AMA to withdraw the report.
    • [Leonard] Schuman and [Stanhope] Baynes-Jones (both ex-SGAC) agreed with Horn and were to take their objections to the trustees of the AMA.
  • [Kenneth] Endicott (Director of the NCI) and Senator Clements (President of the TI) were proponents of the joint research. This collaboration defused attacks on tobacco from HEW ... "It's a new ball game."
  • The TI wanted to have the ads and position paper cleared by their lawyers Shook Hardy & Bacon and ready for release.

Participants in the San Francisco meeting were:

Tobacco Industry representatives -- Committee of Counsel
Earle C Clements Tobacco Institute President Executive-Director/lobbyist
Philip Grant Lorillard Corp Inhouse legal counsel
Frederick P Haas Liggett & Myers General counsel
Cyril Hetsko American Tobacco Inhouse legal counsel
H Henry Ramm RJ Reynolds VP and General Counsel
Paul D Smith Philip Morris General Counsel
Addison Yeamans Brown & Wlliamson General Counsel
Tobacco Research Council/ CTR
Richard J Bing MD Wayne State Uni CTR & AMA/ERF (cardiologist)
McKeen Cattell MD Cornell University CTR (pharmacologist)
Leon O Jacobson MD University of Chicago Chrm CTR SAB physician
Clarence C Little ScD TIRC and CTR Scientific Director
Sheldon Sommers MD Columbia University CTR (next Scientific Dir.) pathologist
National Institute of Health
Francis R Abinant National Inst of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Carl G Baker MD National Cancer Institute Dir. of Etiology
Kenneth Endicott MD National Cancer Institute Director NCI
Lung Cancer Task Force
Paul Kotin MD Nat. Environmental Health Science Center of HEW (ex-TIRC SAB)
Lung Cancer Task Force
Gardiner McMillan MD National Heart Instititute ex-Tobacco Working Group of NCI
Ian A Mitchell MD National Cancer Institute
The AMA's Education Research Foundation (ERF) Committee
Robert J Hasterlik MD Uni of Chicago Prof. Medicine
John B Hickam MD Indiana Uni Prof. Medicine. Member SGAC
Paul S Larson PhD Med. College of Virginia Chairman AMA-ERF
Maurice H Seevers MD Uni of Michigan Prof Pharmacology.Member SGAC
Ira Singer PhD Am. Medical Assn Sec of AMA committee.

1969 (probably plans) visit to Australia "working out well" 2015047984,,

1969 -- 72 CTR Acting Research Director

1969 /E He was invited to review Auerbach's slides, but claims blocked by Hoyt. He says he didn't check with Auerbach again on his return from Australia and NZ, but the Telex via Whist in Australia says otherwise. 2075562553

1969 Between 1969 and 1972, John J. McCloy was an Honorary Life Trustee of Lenox Hill Hospital, whose Chairman expressed the Board of Trustees' gratitude to the Council for Tobacco Research for funding the work of Sheldon Sommers. McCloy was also the Chairman of the Salk Institute, whose trustees engaged in assorted anti-smoking activism.

1969 Mar 22 Meeting of the SAB of the CTR. To members of the SAB, the CTR gave:

  • Loosli -- $69,057 for an electron microscope. [Grant #537-R18]
  • Sommers -- $23,622 supplementary grants [ #688 -- no details]
  • Larson -- $27,260 renewal grant [ ongoing abstraction and literature classification]
  • Bing -- $23,559 renewal grant [ #310-R8 - no details]

1969 Apr Served as Research Director of CTR between April 1969 and Jun 1972. 2075562553 (19980730)

1969 Apr 28 Sheldon C Sommers appeared for the Tobacco Institute at a US Congress hearing of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. He is credited and quote in a larger Brown & Williamson booklet as:

Sheldon C. Sommcrs, M.D., Pathologist and Director of Laboratories, Lenox Hill Hospital. NY; Clinical Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons: Clinical Professor of Pathology. University of Southern California School of Medicine; Teacher, Cornell Medical School, Tufts-New England Medical Center, and New York Medical College; Research Director, Council for Tohacco Research — USA. April 30, 1969.

  • "Lung cancer does not occur in the great majority of either moderate or heavy smokers."
  • "The overall autopsy rate in the US is below 10 percent, and without supporting data there are too many death certificate errors in distinguishing between primary lung cancer and secondary spread to the lung of other cancer..."
  • "It is usually difficult to prove a negative, but if cigarette smoke were a cause of lung cancer, it is indeed surprising that no animal experiments have succeeded in its production.
  • "Skin-painting studies are scarcely relevant to the lung. More study is urgently needed of what other factors, such as viruses, urban air pollutants and degenerative changes, contribute to lung cancer development in animals and men."
    [Yet the tobacco industry continued to use skin painting internally as the best assay for cancerous fractions of tobacco smoke.]
  • "The current upsurge of investigative projects and grant requests in the field of smoking and health is one good indicator that at least among research workers the answers we need concerning the causes, developmental stages, diagnosis and control of these diseases are not available.
  • "To claim there is now sufficient scientific evidence to establish that cigarette smoking causes disease is, in my opinion, unjustified."

1969 May 23 Surgeon General Stewart of the PHS has just attacked a number of the tobacco industry's witnesses in a recent cigarette labelling hearing. Sheldon Sommers feels called upon as the 'uncompensated Research Director of Council for Tobacco Research' to reply on their behalf: he trots out statements made by all the standard tobacco helpers.

1969 Jul 8 Sommers is to appear before a Senate hearing and he has asked Alex Holtzman to send him information (in case it arises) about the disputes between:

  • Schoonmaker and {unnamed}
  • 'The Gertler affair'
  • JAMA's rejection of Carl Seltzer's last article.

1969 Sep 12 - 14 The Scientific Advisory Board of the CTR met to consider funding of various projects. Sheldon Sommers is listed now as 'Research Director CTR.' It includes a note:

Sheldon C. Somers, MD. $35,402.00 Approved for the second year of an originally proposed three-year project.

[Note:By this time the CTR grant system had become partly monopolised by the members of the SAB, supposedly supervising the grants -- but essentially dealing them out between the institutions they represented.]

1970-80 The CTR's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Chairman

1970 Mar 3 Alex Holtzman, the general counsel for Philip Morris in New York is corresponding with Andrew Whist, the key disinformation expert with Philip Morris Australia. Holtzman has been sending out corrupt scientists (Rune Cederlof and Lars Friberg, etc) to conduct media tours in Australia, where they claim that there is no justification for anyone having concern about the health effects of tobacco smoke.

Holtzman has just learned that Sheldon ('Charlie') Sommers, the Acting Research Director at the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) is planning to visit Australia in June -- and he has agreed to ...

"devote part of his time to participating in whatever activities you might arrange."
    Lauren V Ackerman, Professor of Pathology at Washignton University, St Louis and a good friend of ours [who] has an international reputation in the cancer field [ might also join Sommers.]
    "He has a wider reputation than Sommers, and is the associate editor of the ACS's journal, Cancer so his objectivity could not be questioned."

Ackerman, unfortunately, believes that smoking ...

"might be implicated in some cases of lung cancer, but that its contribution to lung cancer overall is fairly small.
    I hesitate to make a strong recommendation on Ackerman since as you and I know from the Cederlof/Friberg situation, it can be difficult to handle two scientists who have somewhat divergent views.
    Ackerman is entirely willing to, leave the discussion of smoking and health questions in Sommers hands and to make only such remarks on this subject as might be considered helpful. Also, he is very critical of the Auerbach [smoking beagle] study and will be in a very good position to discuss its shortcomings.
    Sommers' visit, incidentally, would be entirely under his own auspices without any support from the industry. As to Ackerman, we would have to arrange to pay his expenses, but I am certain that many academics. in Australial would be anxious to arrange speaking dates for him.

He also suggests John P Wyatt and Ray Rosenman [both fully in the industry pay]

Finally, I am enclosing a very recent article by Dr Carl C Seltzer of Harvard University which represents an excellent criticism of the scientific information in relation to cigarette smoking,and heart disease.

[This triggered Seltzer's later career as the main international travelling salesman for doubt about smoking and heart attacks.]

1970 Mar 3 - Holtzman writes to Whist in Australia Recently, in the course of a social evening with Dr Sheldon C Sommers, a pathologists who is now Acting Research Director for the Council for Tobacco Research - USA, I learned that Dr. Sommers is planning to visit Australia early in June. He is one of our finest spokesmen and is thoroughly familiar with the medical research on tobacco and health. I spoke to Dr. Sommers about the industry's problems in Australia and he would be willing to devote part of his time during his one week stay to participating in whatever activities you might arrange. He has contacts with academics in Australia and has already written to one of his colleagues, Dr Vincent McGovern, who, I believe is at the University of Melbourne. Sommers has firm and favorable views on the matter of lung cancer and, I think, would be an ideal candidate for your program. [He was travelling with Lauren Ackerman, see]

1970 Mar 16 A second exchange of information between Holtzman and Paul Smith is Unavailable -- it has "Privileged Content" MEMORANDUM BETWEEN PHILIP MORRIS COUNSEL REGARDING AUERBACH STUDY; SECRET However the indexing reveals that it also deals with Lauren Akerman and Sheldon Sommers and it mentions both the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the journal 'Cancer' which Ackerman co-edits.

1970 Jun Trip with wife to Australia in organised by Whist 1005135909,

1970 Jun Dr Sheldon "Charlie" Sommers, described by PM's Alex Holtzman as "one of our finest spokesmen" who "...has firm and favorable views on the matter of lung cancer and...would be an ideal candidate for [PM Australia's] program"29 also visited Australia in June 1970. Alex Holtzman (PM USA) wrote to Sommers about preparations for the trip:"... arrangements will be made for television interviews with you in both Sydney and Melbourne... There will probably also be a press interview with you at each city... You will also be invited to meet with Professor Vickerton-Blackburn [sic], who is the head of the recently established Australian Tobacco Research Foundation, the Australian counterpart of CTR. I am sure that the tobacco industry in Australia will appreciate your taking time to help them with their problem."

1970 Jun 8 arriving Australia Monday 2015047999

1970 Jun 8 He was arriving in Australia on the following Monday 2015047999

1970 Jun 11 A telex from Alex Holtzman to Sheldon Sommers (via Andrew Whist) says:


[Sommers (and the tobacco industry in general) later made a complaint to the press and NCI that Auerbach had refused to allow "independent scientists like himself" to examine the Beagle-smoking data. This was a lie. He completely ignored this agreement. This was part of a scheme to discredity Auerbach & Hammond, set up personally by Joseph Cullman III of Philip Morris.]

1970 Jun 25 American Druggist article; the editor has returned the proofs to the CTR.

Dear Mr. Hoyt: Enclosed are rough galley proofs of the article, "Smoking and Health: Many Unanswered Questions", written by Dr. Sheldon C Sommers. The "Editor's Note" (on galley N-22) will appear prominently with the article. As I indicated earlier, we would very much like to include a head-shot of Dr Sommers, if you have a photo available.


1970 Sep Smoking and Health: Many Unanswered Questions. By Sheldon C. Sommers. in American Druggist, CTR11314542

1970 Sep 2 [STARTS PARTWAY IN] Sheldon Sommers has an article in American Druggist, "Smoking & Health: Many Unanswered Questions" He is credited as being Chairman of the SAB of CTR and director of laboratories, Lennox Hill Hospital, NY.

  • With reference to lung cancer, if smoking is a causal factor, why is it that the disease strikes males five or six times more often than females? No theory of causation known has adequately explained this striking sex difference.
    [Except that women didn't smoke much until the late 1950s]
  • Only a very small subgroup of even heavy smokers gets lung cancer, and why this is so is unknown. The great majority of cigarette smokers never develop the disease.
    [Gee, maybe it is dose-related !]
  • The disease is more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas,
    [Maybe it is synergistic with other forms of air pollution.]
  • The recent press conference report of the induction of lung cancer in dogs exposed to cigarette smoke inhalation raised more questions than answers.
    [Only to the Merchants of Doubt.]

[It goes on like this for many more pages]

1970 Nov 13 In a memorandum to Addison Yeaman, John Blalock discussed the approach to be utilized by CTR in addressing the scheduled Auerbach/Hammond dog study publication in December." Blalock suggested that Yeaman encourage the formation of a panel of experts, to be headed by [Sheldon] Sommers, "with the express assignment of preparing a critique of the study. Blalock explained that in order to be able to move quickly after publication, the scientific panel should plan its methodology now -- assembling all that is known about the study, making specific assignments for analyzing the paper, devising means of getting an advance copy of the published paper, an overall scheme for bringing together all the various parts in writing the critique." Blalock then noted that once a critique was prepared, [the Tobacco Institute] TI should be prepared to issue publicity releases and conduct press conferences for the national news media. Blalock, then suggested that the Communicaticns Committee submit "a complete plan for disseminating the critique in other effective ways (possibly paid advertising, mailings to thought-leaders, doctors, etc.)" Contingencies based upon the content of the scheduled Auerbach/Hammond study were also discussed. Blalock concluded "we would hope that all attention will be given to this highly important project, because it can be anticipated, and we should be fully prepared to move quickly to any advantage available to the Industry.- (680264742/4743) (possibly privileged) [Note the document is not available in the archives, and the above is the reference from the July 17 1990 King & Spalding,' "B&W Conspiracy Notebook" Page 80

1971 Dr Little (scientific director) was elderly and in poor health, so Sommers acted in that position (he was research director) Hockett never served on the SAB ??? (He was a staff member) 2075562553

1971 Jan According to the WGBH transcript, Sommers was:

  • Director of Laboratories at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City,
  • Clinical Professor of Pathology of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, and ...
  • ditto at the University of Southern California
  • Research Director of the CTR
  • Chairman of the SAB of the CTR

1971 Jan 17 TV debate on PBS over the federal government setting limits on tar and nicotine content in cigarettes. William Rusher of National Review let the tobacco team with Horace Kornegay and Sheldon Sommers. [See pages approx 25% into document]

1971 Jan 19 WGBH TV (PBS) debate, "Sold the federal government set limits on the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes." Howard Miller (USC), Sen. Frank Moss, Ernest Wynder were PRO; William Rusher (National Review), Horace Kornegay, Sheldon Sommers (Coumbia Uni, and USC - Chairman of Scientific Board for CTR) were CON. Moss has been promoting a bill to set limits.

1971 Jun 11 The Sterling Proposal on Ski Instructors. Presumably Theodor Sterling had made a proposal to staudy "Cardiopulmonary Performance in Smokers" and "Physical Fitness" by spending some paid time in the British Columbian ski fields. Hockett at the CTR had become involved. Bill Shinn at Shook Hardy & Bacon had been dealing with Sterling and sending him material, and Sheldon Sommers had commented also.. <img SRC="../library/space.gif" width=344 height=1> See Page 2502

1972 Sheldon Sommers has appeared at the Moss Inquiry on behalf of th CTR, and is writing to add some supplementary material to his testimony. He had been asked to answer some questions by Senator Moss. He was asked to list major studies published in the last ten years which supported his position and had not been considered by the Public Health Service. Instead, he flooded them with a list of 1275, many making no mention of tobacco, on the grounds that since lung-cancer was a 'multi-factoral' disease, he would incude a thousand or so which had nothing to do with smoking, but dealt only with other diseases. It was a well-practiced tactic of swamping the lay-student with irrelevant material.

1972 Resigned from being CTR's Acting Research Director

1972 Sommers, Chairman of SAB for CTR claims that Surgeon General's report was biased, and that it had omitted almost 2000 references 100454221 (19850806)

1972 Was chairman of CTR in 1972

1972 Jan The UK Lancet carries an article by Carl Seltzer attacking the 1971 Report of the Royal College of Physicians. Tobacco lobbyist Sheldon Sommers gave evidence at a Congressional inquiry, saying:

The Royal College of Physician report, available in 1971, considered statistical evidence of the increased disease and death rates among British doctors who smoked cigarettes as the strongest indication of their harmfulness.

In Lancet , the current January 1972 issue, is an article by Dr. Carl Seltzer, Harvard School of Public Health, pointing out critical defects in these comparisons and conclusions. Last year's strongest statistical evidence appears destroyed this year. I salute the editorial board of Lancet for this example of English fair play. One doubts that Dr. Seltzer would have been allowed to publish this paper in a comparable US medical journal.

The key point is that in a new and uncertain scientific discipline, still developing its techniques and a better understanding of the biases involved, neither reliance nor decisions based on the statistical. epidemiology of lung cancer appear warranted.

[All epidemiology is now being damned under the banner of 'statistical']

1972 Jun ceased being Acting Research Director of CTR.

1972 Jun Ceased to be Research Director of CTR

1972 Nov 2: Director of Laboratories at Lenox Hill Hospital, NY Agreement with TIRC "compensate for advice and consulting by fixed fee at rate of $15,000 pa, paid monthly." This was the time he was challenging Auerbach

1973 Jun 25 Deposition summary Dr William Gardner was Scientific Director of CTR prior to Sommers 2075562553

1975 Jun Seltzer was on holidays during this month, but William Gardner, the Scientific Director has written to Alvan Feinstein of Yale. Feinstein, Charlie Sommers, Henry Lynch and Carl Seltzer were all involved in some TIRC project that involved questionnaires.

1976 Jun 2 Don Hoel responds to Andrew Whist's cable and sends him the statements made by tame scientists at a recent Senate Subcommittee on Health hearing. It lists

  • Dom Aviado
  • Arthur Furst
  • Charles Hine
  • Robert Hocket
  • Hiram Langston
  • Robert Okun
  • RH Rigdon
  • Carl Seltzer
  • Sheldon Sommers,
  • Theodor Sterling

in addition to tobacco executives.

This event occurred only two weeks before the first Philip Morris International S&H meeting in Bermuda (where Whist and Hoel would have met. This is in the early days of the Fraser Liberal Government in Australia)

1977 Sep Whist tells Bowling he wants to bring Seltzer to Australia - having discussions. Has had successful visits by Somers, Friberg and Cederlof, Ober, Wyatt, Buhler, McDonald and Sterling. Hans Eysenk is here presently. + Dr William Whitby

1977 Sep 20 Andrew Whist, (PM Australia) tells Jim Bowling [PM New York] that he wants to bring Carl Seltzer to Australia. He has been making preliminary arrangements directly with Seltzer (via Alex Holtzman).

Whist has already organised visits by [S Charles] Sommers, [Lars] Friberg and [Rune] Cederlof, [William] Ober, [John] Wyatt, [Victor] Buhler, [Ian] McDonald and [Theodore] Sterling "with various degrees of success". They are negotiating with Hiram Langston to visit in November and Hans Eysenk was in Australia at that time. They now have the services of a local Sydney practitioner Dr William Whitby.

Selzer understands he is only wanted when problems arise.

I was careful to point out that we would only want him to come here in response to particular opportunities as and when they occur.

[This leaves no doubt that Seltzer was now acting as a lobbyist rather than scientist]

1980 Stopped being SAB Chairman

1981 -- 87 CTR Scientific Director

1981 (later section) MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS CTRMN038642/8651 Resigned effective June 30 1981 Sheldon Sommers to take over effective July 1 1981 at $150,000 per annum

1981 May /Sep Research Director for the CTR. Contracted in May-June 1981, but effective from 1 Sept 1981. Was Chairman of CTR Scientific Advisory Board before this date.

1981 Jun 25 Council for Tobacco Research board meeting. They were hiring Sheldon C Sommers to run the operation.

1981 Jul 1 Took over from Gardner as Scientific Direcor of CTR. Paid $150,000 He had been Chair of the SAB CTRMN038642/8651

1981090< 1981 Sep

1 981 Sep: Sommers became Scientific Director of the CTR

1982-91 This extraordinary list of grants appear to be those made by Philip Morris to New York State and Italian establishments in order to impress Senator Alfonse D'Amato of New York.

Some of these are front organizations with their nominal base in New York -- so this is a list designed to impress D'Amato with the amount they contribute in philanthrophy to his electorate.

    Lennox Hill Hospital
  • 25 June 1987 -- $110,000
  • 20 Apr 1988 == $110,000
  • 5 June 1989 -- $110,000
  • Numerous smaller amounts in the $100-$500 range

1982 Mar - May 1983: Five hearings before Congress heard from a cosy list of the tobacco industry's scientific and medical witnesses.

  • Mar 5 -12 1982 House: Energy and Commerce
  • Mar 16 1982 Senate: Labor and Human Resources
  • May 10 1982 Senate: Commerce, Science and Transportation
  • Mar 9 -17 1983 House: Health and Environment
  • May 5 - 12 1983 Senate: Labor and Human Resources

The testimony of 39 of these paid scientists was then included in a booklet "The Cigarette Controversy: Why More Researh is Needed" published by the Tobacco Institute. This witness is listed in the booklet as:

36. Sheldon C. Sommers, M.D., clinical professor of pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; scientific director, Council for Tobacco Research-USA, Inc., New York

1982 Mar 13 Waxman Hearings on tobacco labelling in Congress.

DAY THREE was devoted to tobacco industry witnesses led by TI Executive Committee Chairman Horrigan and featuring a panel of research scientists and one of behavioral experts. First news coverage was a long UPI story at lunchtime which began,

    "Lung cancer remains a medical mystery and cannot be directly linked biologically to cigarette smoking, a tobacco industry researcher told Congress Friday. 'The fact is that the vast majority of smokers -- more than 90 percent of even heavy smokers -- do not develop lung cancer,"

Sheldon Sommers, a physician and professor of pathology at Columbia Univ., told a Congressional subcommittee considering new warning labels for cigarette packages."

Sheldon Sommers explained that epidemiology cannot prove cause and effect, merely a relationship. "The biomedical experimentation does not support the smoking causation hypothesis," he said. [snip] THE MEDICAL PANEL [Furst, Sterling, Fisher and Sommers] told the subcommittee that the bill's scientific findings are based on insufficient data and could divert attention and resources from crucially needed research on chronic diseases.

    "A Congressional finding that 'cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer' implies a scientific certainty that I, as a scientist, believe to be unwarranted," said Arthur Furst, a consultant to the World Health Organization and professor emeritus at Univ. of San Francisco.

Theodor Sterling of Simon Fraser Univ., British Columbia, warned that

    "factual knowledge about the antecedents of lung disease will remain incomplete if we continue to simplistically blame cigarette smoking and continue to ignore the possible effects of the work- place on the health of workers."

A professor of pathology at the Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Edwin R. Fisher, said his own experimental work and review of scientific literature

    "leads me to the conclusion that cigarette smoking has not been scientifically established to be a cause of atherosclerosis."

Sheldon Sommers explained that epidemiology cannot prove cause and effect, merely a relationship. "The biomedical experimentation does not support the smoking causation hypothesis," he said.
All four panel members told the subcommittee, in response to a question from Rep. Waxman, that they have
no professional relationship with The Tobacco Institute, which invited them to testify.
[They may not have had a 'professional relationship' with the Tobacco Institute , but they were all paid serious money on a regular basis by the Council for Tobacco Research -- mostly through its secret Special Project #4 Accounts.]

[Source Tobacco Institute Newsletter]

1982 Mar 18 Packwood, Orrin Hatch and Henry Waxman are attempting to strengthen the warning labels on cigarette packs. They also want an office of smoking and health within the Health and Human Services Department.

The subcommittee heard physicians' doubt out loud whether smoking has any link to cancer or any other disease, despite what the surgeon general said in his latest report on Feb. 22

Dr. Sheldon Sommers, a physician and professor of pathology at Columbia University, maintained that cancer remains a medical mystery and cannot be directly linked biologically to cigarette smoking. "The fact is that the vast majority of smokers -- more than 90 percent of even

heavy smokers -- do not develop lung cancer. Hence cigarette smoking is neither necessary nor sufficient in the development of human lung cnacer, and by the biological definition is not the cause."

1982 May 4 George Weissman at Philip Morris is advised internally that "The following people (mostly Drs) will receive a copy of Dr Sheldon Sommers' testimony before the Congressional Committee:"

  • Norman Weissman (brother and Bio Sciences Labs)
  • Bernard Dryer (Bio Sciences Labs)
  • Morton Bryer (Bio Sciences Labs)
  • Alfred Grant
  • Alvin Friedman
  • Charles H Rosenberg
  • William Ruder (Philip Morris consultant in PR and lobbying)

Weissmans note sent to each says

"This is a testimony of Dr Sheldon Sommers before a Congressional Committee. It is one of the best and clearest statements on the subject I've seen in years."

1982 Jul 23 MD Film subject for the Tobacco Institute proposed by SH&B 1005048123

1982 Aug 31 The CTR statements for Special Projects #4 accounts shows that Sheldon Sommers was paid $ 181 for some reason (telephone advice usually)

1982 Aug 31 Sommers, S 03638775 Special Projects A/C

1983 Scientific Director of CTR stated that from 1970 to 1982 $14 m was spent on "whether cig smoking causes lung cancer in animals" and the result "proved negative" He also said Mar 83 that 2/3 of CTR grants spent on cancer

1983 [in the 1999 Harvard Law Review: An article subheaded Bias and Manipulation in Viscusi's Survey Evidence. See Page 7 Taking Behavioralism Seriously: Some Evidence of Market Manipulation ]

In 1983 Dr Sheldon Sommers, then the scientitic director of the CTR, testified before Congress: "Cigarette smoking has not been scientitically established to be a cause of chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or emphysema. Nor has it been shown to affect pregnancy outcome adversely."

1983 Mar Subcommittee on Health and the Environment hearing (9th) and House Energy and Commerce Committee (17th). Lists those for and against HR 1824 "Comprehensive Smoking Prevention Education Act" Those giving evidence for the Tobacco Institute were:

  • Roger Blackwell, Ohio State Uni
  • Theodore H Blau, Psychologist, Tampa FL
  • HJ Eysenck, Prof of Psychology, Inst of Psychiatry, Uni of London
  • Edwin R Fisher, Prof of Pathology, Uni of Pittsburg
  • Curtis H Judge, President,/ Arthur Stevens (Gen Counsel) Lorillard (TI)
  • Hiram Thomas Langston, Doctor, Savannah, GA
  • Larry Light, Exec VP. Ted Bates Advertising NY
  • Harold Mendelson, Prof of Mass Communication, Uni of Denver
  • David Minton, (Washington counsel) Magazine Publisher Association
  • Eric M Rubin, (Washington counsel) Outdoor Advertising Assn of Am
  • Sheldon C Sommers, Pathology Physician, Uni of Southern California.
  • Michael J Waterson, for AAAA, AAF and ANA.

1983 Mar 17 Sheldon Sommers, Theodor Blau, Hans Eysenck, Hiram Langston are all giving evidence at the Waxman hearings in Congress. They all oppose the claim that smoking causes lung-cancer

  • Hiram Langston said that he quit smoking because "In 1954 I didn't find that I enjoyed it and I just quit."
  • Eysenck said "I quit in 1955 when I came back from California to England, and I wasn't going to smoke any more because of the price."
  • Blau said "I smoked three or more packs a day until I was 35 and then I got this fantasy that I could become efficiently athletic, and I gave up smoking."
  • Sommers said "I never smoked cigarettes and the do nothing for me, and I don't like cigarettes.

1983 Mar 30 /E Sheldon Sommers was giving evidence at the Waxman hearings in Congress. He says his credentials are:

  • A physician specializing in pathology at the
    • University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles,
    • Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York,
    • consultant in pathology at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York.
  • Positions
    • Chairman of the New York State Mental Hygiene Medical Review Board.
    • Past president of the New England Pathological Society and the New York Pathological Society, and
    • President of the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists.
  • Associated with Dr Shields Warren and Dr Jacob Furth in cancer research,
  • 300 publications
  • Co-editor of Pathology Annual and Diagnostic Gynecology and Obstetrics
  • On the editorial boards of five other medical journals
  • For 18 months he has been Scientific Director of the CTR.
  • And the big lie:

    I provide this statement voluntarily, as an individual and not as a representative of any organization .

During the following questions Sommers denies that smoking is the largest "preventable cause of death in the USA" or that it has been a cause of cancer of the lung, larynx, orgal cavity, esophagus -- or a contributer to kidney and panreatic cancers. Also that it causes, bronchitis, emphysema, CVD, miscarriates, still births, premature births, and birth-weight deficiency, stroke, high blood pressure,.

1983 May 5 - 12 Tobacco Institute witnesses before a range of Congressional Committees and Subcommittees in the period 1982-83. All 39 scientists presented testimony against proposals of the Comprehensive Smoking Prevention Education Act in 1982 and similar legislation introduced in the House and Senate in 1983.

  1. Domingo M. Aviado, M.D., president, Atmospheric Health Sciences, Inc.; adjunct professor of pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark
  2. Roger L Bick, M.D., medical director, San Joaquin Hematology and Oncology Medical Group; assistant professor of medicine, School of Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles
  3. Richard J. Bing, M.D., professor of medicine emeritus, University of Southern California; director of experimental cardiology, Huntington. Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena -
  4. Theodore H. Blau, Ph.D., private practice of clinical and child psychology, Tampa
  5. Walter M. Booker, Ph.D., professor emeritus of pharmacology, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C.; president, Walter M. Booker & Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C.
  6. Oliver Gilbert Brooke. M.D., FRCP, Head of Neonatology, Department of Child Health, St.George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, England
  7. Barbara B. Brown, Ph.D., former chief of experimental physiology, Veterans Administration Hospital, Sepulveda, Cal.
  8. Victor B. Buhler, M.D., pathologist, Liberty Hospital, Liberty, Mo.
  9. P R. J. Burch, Ph.D., professor. department of medical physics, University of Leeds, England (The evidence of Prof. Burch is to be found in the Congressional Record of August 11, 1982, pp. 3830-32.)
  10. Hans J. Eysenck, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor of psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, England
  11. Jack Mathews Farris, M.D., emeritus professor of surgery, University of California, San Diego
  12. . Sherwin J. Feinhandler, Ph.D., former lecturer in anthropology, Harvard Medical School; president, Social Systems Analysts, Inc., Watertown, Mass.
  13. Edwin R. Fisher, M.D., professor of pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; director of laboratories, Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh
  14. H. Russell Fisher, M.D., emeritus professor of pathology, University of Southern California; consultant, Memorial Hospital, Glendale, Cal.
  15. Arthur Furst, Ph.D., distinguished university professor (emeritus) and director (emeritus), Institute of Chemical Biology, University of San Francisco, San Francisco.
  16. Jean D. Gibbons, Ph.D., professor of statistics, chairman of applied statistics program, Graduate School, University of Alabama
  17. Katherine McDermott Herrold, M.D., medical director (retired), U.S. Public Health Service, Washington, D.C.
  18. Richard J. Hickey, Ph.D., senior research investigator, department of statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  19. Robert Casad Hockett, Ph.D., research director, Council for Tobacco Research-USA, Inc., New York
  20. Duncan Hutcheon, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and medicine, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark
  21. Leon O. Jacobson, M.D., physician-scientist emeritus, University of Chicago; chairman, Scientific Advisory Board, Council for Tobacco Research- USA, Inc., New York
  22. Lawrence L Kupper, PhD., professor of biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  23. Hiram T. Langston, M.D., clinical professor of surgery (emeritus), Northwestern University Medical School; chairman, department of surgery, St. Joseph's Hospital, Chicago
  24. Mariano F. La Via, M.D., professor of laboratory medicine and director, division of diagnostic immunology, Medical University of South Carolina
  25. Stephen C. Littlechild, Ph.D., professor of commerce, head of department of industrial economics and business studies, Faculty of Commerce and Social Science, University of Birmingham, England
  26. Eleanor J. Macdonald, professor emeritus of epidemiology, University of Texas System Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston.
  27. Harold Mendelsohn, Ph.D., director, Center for Mass Communications Research and Policy, University of Denver
  28. L.G.S. Rao, Ph.D., senior biochemist, Bellshill Maternity Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland
  29. Jay Roberts, Ph.D., professor and chairman, department of pharmacology, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  30. Henry Rothschild, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and anatomy, School of Medicine, Louisiana State University, New Orleans
  31. Henry I. Russek, M.D., private practice of cardiology, Boca Raton, Fla.; formerly director of cardiovascular research, U S. Public Health Service Hospital, Staten Island
  32. Bernice C. Sachs, M.D., psychiatrist, Cooperative Plan, Seattle
  33. John E. Salvaggio, M.D., chairman and Henderson professor, department of medicine, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans
  34. Gerhard N. Schrauzer, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, University of California, San Diego
  35. Carl C. Seltzer, Ph.D., honorary research associate, Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  36. Sheldon C. Sommers, M.D., clinical professor of pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; scientific director, Council for Tobacco Research-USA, Inc., New York
  37. Charles D. Spielberger, Ph.D., psychology professor, director, Center for Research in Community Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa
  38. Theodor D. Sterling, Ph.D., university research professor, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
  39. Bea J. van den Berg, M.D., director, child health and development studies, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
[Note:Every name on this list is a dedicated, long-term tobacco-friendly scientist, who persisted in working for the tobacco industry many years passed the time when it was still remotely possible for the gullible, or the stupid, to still believe that cigarettes were 1) not addictive 2) not a health hazard to smokers 3) not a health hazard to non-smokers.]

1983 Jul 13 - 19 Jet Lincoln has written to Hugh Cullman (PM International) advocating a study to 'parallel' [and thefore counter] the American Cancer Society's new prospective study on smoking and premature mortality, which has been recruiting a million men since September 1982.

Jet Lincoln doesn't trust the Council for Tobacco Research and Sheldon Sommers to run this counter-study. He wants Philip Morris to do it.

My thought is to parallel the new ACS study, including all or at least most of their questionnaire, but adding to it additional questions we believe have a predictive value for premature mortality, including questions as close as we can come to the Vaillant [Grant study] and Caroline B. Thomas [Johns Hopkins Uni] discriminators.

By having our own study, we will be able to look at cross tabulations of their questions that they either do not run, or do not choose to publish, and also to fold the responses to our added questions into the overall analysis. The cost of an exact replication would be rather high since millions of personal interviews are involved. One way to hold down the cost would be to use Home Testing Institute and aim for a final sample of 100,000 instead of a million. I believe our smaller sample would still yield statistically sound figures with regard to total mortality. The main thing we would lose would be the ability to publish separate statistics for the mortality from minor causes of disease. For your information, I am attaching a copy of the new ACS questionnaire . It has some questions in it that may help us.

On the other hand, they will probably be more careful to control the alcohol usage and this is very likely to make us look worse. Additionally, it seems highly probable to me that most of the individuals who have the greatest will to live long lives have abandoned smoking. <img SRC="../library/space.gif" width=204 height=1> [See questionairre from the same file] Cullman must have passed this research proposal on to Shepard P Pollack, the PM USA President, who then sent it on to Thomas Osdene [PM's chief science-advisory executive] Osdene then replies:

I am very much in favor of this study recognizing that it would be rather expensive; nevertheless, it would be a very good way of checking the American Cancer Association's results.
['Checking' is ambiguous -- it can mean 'countering' or 'confirming.']

Implicit in this, one must consider that the future results may have to be protected [meaning 'shielded from legal discover'] and therefore I would suggest if this study were to be undertaken, it would be under the control of our legal advisors. Technically, it would be very worthwhile. I would strongly advise against sponsoring this through the CTR and believe that, for example, Dr. Wynder (AHF) or Dr. Carl Seltzer might be able to do this.

It must be noted that if the number to be surveyed is in the order of 100,000 people the study would have to be conducted two to three times as long as the 1,000,000 subject study of the American Cancer Association.

[While the corruption of Carl Seltzer is easily demonstrated, the involvement of Dr Ernest Wynder of the American Health Foundation was more closely concealed because of his earlier reputation and his vocal support of 'safe cigarette' research. However this correspondence suggests that by 1983 he was dependant on their funding and ameniable to their demands, and could be trusted to conceal adverse findings.]

1984 [In 1992 monograph: "Smoking Up a Storm" PR and Advertising in the Construction of the Cigarette Problem (1953-54) by Karen Miller.] The Council for Tohacco Research-U.S.A. announced in 1984 that researchers receiving grants from the Scientific Advisory Board had concluded definitively that cigarette smoke exposure did not cause lung cancer in mice. Council for Tobacco Research-USA. "Chronic Exposure of Mice to Cigarette Smoke" (New York : Field. Rich and Associales. 1984) : see especially the foreword by Sheldon C. Sommers.

1984 Feb the Tobacco institute is typesetting a list of 39 names (and their credentials) of witnesses who have appeared /or is about to appear for them [probably at some Congressional hearing]. This witness is said to be:

1984 Mar 9 J Kendrick Wells (Brown & Williamson lawyer) to Ernest Pepples (Senior VP B&W) re meeting with Lionel CF Blackman (BAT Head of Research in UK), Ray Thornton (BAT's Smoking Issues Manager) and Dr Sheldon Sommers of CTR.

Brown & Williamson is the US subsidiary of British-American Tobacco (BAT)

Lionel was surprised and impressed by the $8 million [CTR] budget.

They discuss UK cancer rates and correlation with smoking, especially cohort studies (epidemiological studies).

Dr. Sommers said little about cohort analysis. He said several times that if Lionel and Ray gave him an application, he would personally approve it quickly, even after I reminded him that BAT contemplated doing its own funding and that the visitors were here to seek advice on cohort studies. I am unclear whether Dr. Sommers was indicating enthusiasm for the project or whether he was confused and believed we were applicants for CTR funding.

Ray said the theory which most clearly tied in with the statistical cohort analysis was Phillip RJ Burch's molecular biology theory of cancer development. Ray said he had met Burch and was impressed and that Lilienfeld's critique contained a major non sequitur. Lionel said Burch had offered to come and talk to BAT's scientists, but would refuse any honorarium or travel expense money because of fear of indicating a connection with the tobacco industry . Dr Sommers discussed Burch's theories and generally praised his work.

This exchange is interesting because it shows how carefully the companies kept corrupt scientists to themselves, and didn't share them around to the other companies until the 1990s. Burch had worked for decades with Philip Morris, but his payments were made in secret. His friend Carl C Seltzer who's own funding was laundered through the Nutrition Department of Harvard University and Peacock Museum, also provided a money laundry service for Burch.

Dr. Sommers mentioned several studies which "he would like to do":

  1. The inverse ratio of smoking and incidence of Parkinson's disease
  2. Nicotine or similar chemicals in nonsmokers
  3. Cluster epidemiological studies pertaining to certain groups, such as
  • black men (emphysema),
  • a population in New Zealand which begins smoking earlier than any other population but has no associated health effect;
  • occupational groups;
  • Chinese in Hawaii; and
  • more twin studies (like Friberg & Cederlof).
  1. Expose animals to a carcinogenic "initiator" of platelet growth factor and whole, fresh cigarette smoke.

[Note the focus] [2]

1984 Nov 23 Leonard Zahn, and Pat McCormack (neither a researcher) have done an Inhalation study with mice (Type-in Bates Number) SF0280022/0022A

1985 Oct 7 Robert F Gertenbach who handled the payments of the secret Special Project #4 accounts (SP#4) at the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) has been deposed in a trial against RJ Reynolds in Texas. Gertenbach was now the President of the CTR and WT Hoyt was still a part-time consultant to CTR being paid more than $15,000 pa. Gertenback reveals that the CTR:

  • had a staff of 18
  • two classes of members Class A (voting) and Class B (other)
  • the Chairman/CEO is William D Hobbs, who had retired from RJR
  • the Treasurer is Hans Storr, a top executive at Philip Morris
  • the Secretary and Assistance Treasurer is Ms Lorraine Pollice, who is an employee of CTR
  • Sheldon Sommers (a Pathologist) has been the Scientific Director since Sept 1981 (He was with their Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and acting Scientific Director before)
  • William Gardner, the previous Scientific Director, is still employed as a consultant part time @ $15,000 pa.
  • Robert C Hockett, has retired as Research Director and hasn't been replaced. He now consults part-time to the CTR at a figure of more than $15,000 pa
  • Dr Joseph Feldman (ex SAB member) is now part-time consultant. [He does some site visits]

Associate Scientific Directors (members of staff)

  • Dr Harmon McAllister (Biochemist)
  • Dr Vincent Lisanti (Dentist)
  • Dr David Stone (Biochemist)
  • Dr Donald Ford (Neuroanatomy)
  • William Jenkins is in charge of the CTR library (with a staff of four)
  • the Literature Research Department of the CTR, was now physically separate, and had been moved out of CTR corporate structure in 1983 to become LS Inc. under Fred Giller who was previously with the CTR.
    He maintains that he doesn't know who owns it, or what LS stands for, how it operates, or who uses it.
    He admits that the minutes for January 24 1968 show that "The Council Library continues to research the scientific literature and scan, abstract, and excerpt from more than 3,000 medical and scientific publications."

The eleven SAB members get paid $700 per day for meetings, and about half that for travel days. The Six Executive Committee members get a surcharge of $250 for executive days. [Page 109 on] CTR Board of Directors minutes reveal that the SAB has an involvement with:

  • Special Projects appropriations ... $204,400
  • AMA ERF Committee (a joint research funding group with the American Medical Association)
  • Tobacco Research Council (TRC) in UK
  • German (Verband)
  • Lawsuit defense [3]

1985 Dec 3 RJ Reynolds attorney Carl Steinhouse memo about a two-day "Meeting of Counsel on CTR Documents" [Committee of Counsel]. They want to review the old Robert Hockett documents which were flagged as possibly arising the privilege issue.

Robert C Hockett had been TIRC/CTR Associate Scientific Director for years. He was now retired, but they were doubtful as to his mental stability. He might also harbour bad feelings towards the industry.Hockett was being "prepared" by a group of lawyers for a court appearance.
This memo facetiously notes that when deposed: "he did not recall much of anything; for example he did not recall ...
  1. LRD [the Literature Review Department of the CTR which became LS Inc.]
  2. Ad Hoc Committee (he thought it might have been connected with CTR.
[It ran most of the CTR's secret project operations and OK'd all expenditures]
  • Dave Hardy (he thought he was with an organization in Missouri,
He was the Hardy in Shook Hardy & Bacon their main lawyers from Kansas City.
  • [Alex] Holzman (he thought he might have been with a law firm and then with one of the manufacturers.)
[Holtzman was Philip Morris's main disinformation lawyer/executive]
[Hockett would, of course, had dealt with all of these people and organizations on a day-by-day basis.]

Steinhous reported that Hockett is "bright and alert" but is "terrible on names" and "very confused" ... which would, of course, make it impossible for him to give coherent testimony during a trial. [4]

Rayhill (a lawyer) felt that Hockett was like a time bomb and that we will simply not know what he will remember on any given day. Hockett also is prone to unfortunate phrasing. For example, he said that in the 50's and 60's, CTR's purpose was to take the heat off the tobacco companies and to look at diseases. He characterized the Tobacco Industry Research Council (TIRC) as having been formed to draw scientists into the picture, to study the effects of tobacco in order "to clear tobacco." [Obviously, he has some recall contra to CTR's "independence." ]

They had already got into trouble trying to take depositions from both Sheldon Sommers and Robert Hockett in a Texas court case.

There was a discussion as to what course of action we should take regarding these depositions. Should we try to cut back on Hockett and use Sommers? It was decided to have Rayhill talk to Hockett's two children to determine what Hockett's medical problems are, if any. Dale Hanks, associated with Townsley, will be taking Hockett's deposition. Hanks was characterized as very obnoxious and a zealot. [5]

ACP = attorney-client privilege
OWP = Opinion Work Produce [these are two types of legal privilege which can stop documents from being used in the trial.]

1986 Jan 29 Carol Henry, a former investigator for Microbiological Associates and now Vice President of Toxicology at the corruptable EPA contractor, ICF Inc., wrote to Sommers summarizing speakers' major points at the public meeting for the Committee on Passive Smoking of the National Academy of Sciences and enclosing various handouts and materials. [Henry to Sommers, 1986 / tobacco document] [6]

1986 Aug Training Materials for Counsel in Smoking & Health Litigation.

  • Volume III New Cases: 1982 (820000).
  • Anti-smoking and Plaintiff Organizations.
  • Defense Organization.
  • Plaintiff's Legal Theories,
  • Factual Allegations,
  • Strategy. [7]

1986 Sep/E Sheldon Sommers, who was still the 'Scientific Director of the CTR, was being deposed by Marc Edell for the [[Rose Cippolone[[ trial. He is being asked about a statement he made before the Consumer Subcommittee of the US Senate Interstate Commerce Committee in 1972.

Q.You refer to an article in the current January '72 Lancet publication by Dr. Carl Seltzer. Do you see that on page three?
A. Yes.
Q. Who is Dr. Seltzer?
A. Dr. Seltzer was a professor at Harvard University.
Q. What, if any, relationship did he have with the Council for Tobacco Research in 1972?
A. I don't clearly remember.
Q. Can you tell us what, if any, relationship Dr. Seltzer had at any time with the Council for Tobacco Research or its predecessor?
A. I know nothing about the predecessor. At times Dr. Carl Seltzer served either as a consultant or perhaps a grantee of the Council for Tobacco Research.
Q. Do you know whether or not at the time that Dr. Seltzer wrote this article in Lancet in January 1972 he had any relationship with the Council for Tobacco Research?

A. I already answered. [8]

1987 Sheldon Sommers was no longer the CTR's Scientific Director but he remained on the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

1988 Apr 7 {Rose Cipollone case] The Cipollone Defendants opened their case with:

  • [ [Fred Carstensen]], an economics professor from the Uni of Connecticut. He said the public was aware that smoking caused lung cancer by late 1940
  • Claude Martin, Professor at Uni of Michigan School of Business Admin. who said advertising had little to do with people choosing to smoke. Advertising was all about switching brands. [Sarokin ridiculed this]
  • Sheldon Sommers was one of six pathologists who had diagnose Cipollone's cancer. Ex Scientific Director of the CTR. He and two others said it was an atypical carcinoid (less linked with smoking) while three others said it was small cell carcinomia.. Jury believed Sommers.


1989 /E Manfred Karnovsky (CTR SAB) is interviewed by Kruger for the book "Ashes to Ashes". His evaluation of SAB/CTR staff:

  • Sheldon Sommers: "brilliant person, very good pathologist and scientists, motivated by the evidence ... most enjoyable, very solid guy ... a pathologist whith a flair for comprehending function.
  • The SAB looks for balance among the various disciplines of science.
  • Outside research funds (NIH) had shrunks
  • We were always asked to give an application a relevancy score, but then that was usually disregarded.
  • the CTR was never viewed as a potential whitewash outfit (to cover the industry's sins) The CTR was set up to try to discover real cause of lung cancer.


1989 Sommers finally resigned from the CTR's SAB.

1997 Nov 19 Horace Kornegay [Chairman of the Tobacco Institute] is being examined in a court case. He was asked if he knew a list of prominent tobacco-friendly scientists and academics who had worked extensively for the industry, and and whether the Tobacco Institute prepared the testimony that they had given at various inquiries. [[[Fred Panzer]] had already admitted that they routinely did] (See page 16) Kornegay plays dumb, but he is asked what he knew about: Q. Dr Buhler; Dr SC Littlechild; Leonard Zahn; Knowledge of Special Account 4 or 5 (No); Q. Dr Aviado; Dr Gary Huber ("very vaguely") Q. Dr Theodor Sterling ("heard the name"); Q. Dr Kotin (No); Q. Dr Theodore Blau; Dr Arthur Furst; Dr Sheldon Sommers ("Sommons?") Q. Edward Horrigan; Dr Edwin Fisher; Dr Duncan Hutcheon; Dr Hans Eysenck (No)

Q. Roger D Blackwell, Yoram J Wind, Dr Bea J van den Berg, Oliver G Brooke MD, Walter M Booker, Lawrence Kupper, Katherine McDermott Herrold.

Q. Burns W Roper? A. Yeah, I've heard of -- I've heard of Dr Roper Q. What's your recollection? A. He's a pollster Q. Did he do work for the Tobacco Institute A. Roper I believe he's -- you know, one of these opinion poll people. Roper. Sort of like Gallup - he has done some work for The Institute Q. What's your recoolection of what he's done for the Institute A. I can't articluate it other than to say he took some surveys. That's his main line of work

[The questioning then continues with a list of other well-known tobacco scientists and academics] [10]

1998 Jul 30 Warren Shield, the Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, was the first medical director of the Atomic Energy Commission. He co-authored papers with Sommers. (Type-in Bates Number) 2075562553

1998 Jul 30 Sommers makes the claim that PM and RJR are "donors" to CTR who do not set policy. 2075562553 [11]

2000 Mar AG&M listing of those responsible West Virginia Class Action SOMMERS, SHELDON C., M.D. - Former Scientific Director and Pathologist CTR. [12]