Hunter Committee

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

The Hunter Committee was a committee set up by Margaret Thatcher's the British government to run a continuing investigation into the safety of tobacco products -- but more as a PR exercise. It's correct name was the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health and the name Hunter came from the chairman "Lord Hunter of Newington". His committee consisted of a deputy/committee secretary, Dr Frank A Fairweather, and two other members Mr BAR Smith, Mr D Milner. The Fairweather Committee was a subcommittee of the main Hunter, which was the backdoor way of dealing with the tobacco industry (having technical representatives of all the main tobacco industry interests) They coopted scientists from all the tobacco companies to provide information, do minor research, etc.,

The overt aim of the Hunter Committee was to act as a quasi-licensing body on tobacco products, especially the new NSM materials. Any introduction of a new cigarette Brand needed the OK's of the committee. They issued tar and nicotine tables, and promoted the idea of a 'safer cigarette'.

[NSM and NTM = New Smoking/Tobacco Materials (used almost interchangeably) Also called IDL (unknown)
[Celanese had produced a synthetic smoking material called Cytrel, which purported to be a safer material than tobacco. Also the companies often used the tobacco stems, which were flattened, chemically treated and used in cigarettes in shredded laminar or rolled form. These were called 'reconstituted tobacco'.]
[The Hunter Committee also looked at synthetic materials, and additives.]

One proposed study involved an epidemiological study of 20,000 people over a 20 year period.


(Copied and edited from tobacco documents [2]

In 1969, the UK tobacco industry asked the Department of Health for guidelines for synthetic tobacco. The Department of Health "passed the buck" to the Department of Medicine. They formed a committee called the Medical Research Council which met on two occasions, once in June of 1970 and once in January of 1971. This council made a basic decision in deciding that, because people will begin smoking, and those that are smoking will not give it up, it was desirable to develop less hazardous smoking materials. This, plus many other guidelines suggested by the Medical Research Council in 1971, were to be followed by the Hunter Committee .

After desolving the Medical Research Council, the Standing Scientific Liaison Committee was set up by the Department of Health. The purpose of this committee was to advise the Secretary of Health on matters related to smoking and health, on tar tables, on smoke components and on less dangerous smoking criteria . Because of this committee the League of Tar Tables was issued but no consensus could be reached concerning the criteria for less hazardous smoking .

In March 1973, Sir Keith Joseph formed the Hunter Committee which has no tobacco industry members . Frank Fairweather, a public servant from the Health Department, is Secretary to the Hunter Committee and formed his own panel which does contain tobacco industry representatives .

The following disciplines are represented on the Hunter Committee : pharmacology, medical statistics, pathology, chemical pathology, teratology, carcinogenic biochemistry, aerosol physiology, neurology and chest physiology.

[Sir Keith Joseph was the main political adviser and guru of Margaret Thatcher[
[After her retirement Margaret Thatcher became a $10 million a year lobbyist for Philip Morris.]


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