Anyone wondering why the Smoking Blows comments sections have been recently inundated with pro-smoking and pro-tobacco use troll comments? It's because I've decided to promote a pioneering University research program that monitors the tobacco industry online.
The ground-breaking online resource, called TobaccoTactics.org, has been launched by researchers at the University Tobacco Control Research Group, at the University of Bath, UK. Utilizing the same open software as Wikipedia, TobaccoTactics aims to provide up-to-date information on the tobacco industry, its allies or those promoting a pro-tobacco agenda.
Launching a wiki as an online academic resource tool is a first for the University of Bath. But given academia’s current focus on knowledge exchange, TobaccoTactics is seen as a novel and innovative way to publish contemporary research.
The researchers hope the wiki will become a vital instrument to monitor ‘tobacco industry interference’ of public policy, which is this year’s theme of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
According to the TobaccoTactics news release, in all there are nearly 500 profiles on the wiki from tobacco companies, and the PR techniques they use to anonymous ‘tobacco trolls’. The website explores how the industry influences and often distorts public health debates, using a whole raft of lobbying and public relations tactics.
So, before believing any of the pro-tobacco bullshit comments that you may read here, or on other open anti-smoking or anti-tobacco use (pro health) forums, do a little investigating first. Become better educated and find out who's really on your side.
I'd suggest visiting TobaccoTactics often to further understand why these troll comments are being posted, who's posting the comments, and the sinister tactics behind them.