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As editors of the BMJ, Heart, Thorax and BMJ Open, we have decided that the journals will no longer consider for publication any study that is partly or wholly funded by the tobacco industry. Our new policy is consistent with those of other journals including PLoS Medicine, PLoS One, PLoS Biology;1 Journal of Health Psychology;2 journals published by the American Thoracic Society;3 and the BMJ's own Tobacco Control.4
Critics may argue—as many did when journals stopped publishing cigarette advertisements—that publishing such research does not constitute endorsing its findings and that, as long as funding sources are fully disclosed, readers can consider that information and make up their own minds about the quality of the work. Peer review should prevail, goes this line of thinking: it's not the editor's job to make these kinds of judgments. However, this view ignores the growing body of evidence that biases and research misconduct are often impossible …
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