John Luik has challenged the validity of smokefree policies since the late 1960s and has worked as a lobbyist, consultant, analyst, and advocate of "junk" and "corrupt science" for the tobacco industry worldwide since 1987. Luik - a philosophy and international studies theorist - challenges the science of secondhand smoke and the government's role in protecting public health through the passage of smokefree laws by publicly skewing ideas of personal freedom, ethics, and liberty in the tobacco industry's favor.
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In 1987, Philip Morris's law-firms - Covington and Burling, and Shook, Hardy and Bacon - created a campaign dubbed "Project Whitecoat," which sought to single out independent scientists and analysts who would "go beyond the establishment of a controversy concerning an alleged ETS health risk but to disperse the suspicion of risk." Luik was an active player in Project Whitecoat.
In a 1993 Confederation of European Communities Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM) internal document that reiterates a discussion between a CECCM executive and Luik on appropriate uses for a Luik article that challenges smokefree policies, Luik describes his own work as being "too sketchy" for certain reputable journals and understands the difficulty in getting a paper that challenges reputable science published.
One of the most explicit attacks on the credible science of secondhand smoke was the tobacco industry's orchestrated attack on the 1993 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1999, with the support of Brown and Williamson, Luik and Gio Gori co-authored a book titled Passive Smoke: The EPA's Betrayal of Science and Policy. The book was published by the Canadian Fraser Institute and challenged the U.S. EPA's classification of secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen - a cancer causing substance. Gori was one of 13 scientists paid by the tobacco companies to write letters-to-the-editor downplaying the risks of secondhand smoke.
After Luik and Gori's book attacking the U.S. EPA's report was published, tobacco holdings in the Fraser Institute increased from 1.3 percent ($31,740 to $76,180) of the institute's total annual budget from 1996 to 1998, to 5 percent ($229,300) in 1999.2
Although a self-proclaimed staunch ethics analyst, Luik has been fired from numerous universities and teaching positions for repeatedly misrepresenting his own credentials since 1977. One university's assessment of Luik reads:
"The fact that there has been a consistent pattern of misrepresentations gives such misrepresentations a direct bearing on the question of ability since the teaching of applied and professional ethics involves the exercise of moral judgment. The misrepresentations in which Prof. Luik has engaged in the course of his professional career provide examples of how he exercises moral judgment and reflect adversely on his ability as an instructor in applied and professional ethics."3