Carl V. Phillips bio as relates to tobacco harm reduction (THR)
Currently an independent researcher and consultant, and Scientific Director of CASAA.
Phillips has been an active researcher about THR, and an advocate for THR promotion, continuously for more than a decade, second only to Brad Rodu among current independent researchers (i.e., those who are not employed by or otherwise effectively part of a tobacco or pharmaceutical company). He has contributed across scientific research, popular education, advocacy, organizing, teaching, and advising manufacturers and other organizations. He has probably published more analysis on THR than anyone else (though perhaps comes in second to Rodu).
Phillips brings a background unique among THR researchers and advocates. He is an award-winning researcher in epidemiology methods (how to correctly interpret epidemiologic data), as well as being an economist, and has a strong background in epistemology, ethics, and other fields. He was a professor of public health for most of his career. He completed a PhD in public policy (applied economics) from Harvard, a postdoc in public health from Michigan (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars Program), and further postdoctoral studies at Minnesota in philosophy of science. He has pre-doctoral degrees in math, history, and public policy.
Phillips’s TobaccoHarmReduction.org (THRo) research program at the University of Alberta (where it was founded; it is now part of CASAA) was the largest THR research and education operation.
His specific contributions to THR (many in conjunction with coauthors who were part of the THRo research shop) include:
-Published scholarly and popular education materials at TobaccoHarmReduction.org from 2006-2010. A large portion of the current popular knowledge about THR traces back to this work.
-Conducted the 2006 analysis that has been simplified into the conventional wisdom that smoke-free alternatives are 99% less harmful than smoking. (Note that a more precise description is: the best estimate of the risks of smokeless tobacco (this calculation pre-dated e-cigarettes) was that it is 99% less than that from smoking give or take 1%, and that even under the worst-case estimate, it is still more than 95% less harmful. The original estimate of that comparative risk traces to Rodu from 1995, who put ST at 98% less harmful than smoking at a time when it was believed that the main risk from smokeless tobacco was oral cancer. The 2006 analysis, which Rodu also contributed to, considered multiple risks and concluded that cardiovascular risk from the nicotine is probably the main source of risk, to the extent that there is any nontrivial risk.)
-One of the few to formally analyze how to interpret the epidemiology to estimate risks from unstudied products based on what we know about studied products (i.e., addressing the question of what we really know about the risk from e-cigarettes based on what we know about smokeless tobacco).
-Conducted the 2009 analysis that smoking for only a few more months creates more risk than a lifetime of using a product that is as low-risk as smokeless tobacco.
-Probably the leading researcher on anti-THR disinformation, which he has been publishing about for a decade (thus this blog).
-Senior author of first published survey of e-cigarette users and various other field studies.
Much of Phillips’s current THR research focuses on modeling consumer and population adoption of THR products. In particular, he is modeling how THR acts as a social contagion and examining how the economics of consumer choice can better explain use of tobacco products than can the current mythology.
Full CV here (probably out of date on any given day you access this).