A general site mainly for journalists.

Stewart Fist, journalist, columnist and film-maker.

Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment (ARISE)

The food/confectionary, alcohol, tobacco and drug regulators regularly raised the problem of 'addiction' whenever industries made attempts at deregulation, or they were countering attempts to limit sales of some of their products. The arguments against all government oversight promoted by the political Libertarians (the 'Dry' Liberals) was that regulation wasn't necessary in a free society since, once warned about the dangers of over-indulgent, the decision became a human-rights issue. Customers must be able to exercise free choice.

This argument was also extended to the "Freedom to advertise and promote any legal product." Warnings attached to products like alcohol and cigarettes (later sugars and fats) insulated the manufacturer from product liability, once the "Public Choice" argument was widely accepted.

Discounting the role that addiction played was therefore an important component of both general regulation and the legal status of 'tort reform' (limiting product liability - and rejecting punitive damages).

ARISE was a pseudo-scientific organisation set up two professors of psychopharmacology (Prof. David M Warburton of Reading Uni and Prof. Ian Hindmarch of Sussex Uni) to exploit this common problem of various addictive industries. Their idea was to get the industries to fund scientific conferences in their specialist area of pharmacology. They were to be held at luxury resorts around the world so that each year ARISE members could wallow in cost-free luxury while also discussing legitimate scientific matters of common interest.

It was quite unique and very clever; it was both a genuine scientific conference, and a major scam. Provided that no one asked how these academics could afford the cost of flying to some exotic location once or twice each year and staying in resorts, supposedly to confer about things that could be discussed in Europe.

The tobacco industry took the suggestion seriously from the start and quickly set aside a large cache of their 'altruistic' research-grant money each year to part-fund Waterman and his cohorts: they also encouraged other industries to contribute. From the viewpoint of the tobacco industry, the main purpose of the conference would be to promote the idea that the nicotine in cigarettes wasn't "addictive" but merely "pleasurable", and, at worst, "habit-forming". British-American Tobacco paid Ian Hindmarch a quarterly consultation fee of £1250 so they could be reasonably confident of his views.

The scientists were also willing to claim that nicotine was an important stimulant of considerable economic value; Economists could be persuaded to say that it boosted national workforce productivity. The combined message was that, far from being a net cost on society, the 'smoking habit' substantial benefitted the economy.

The cigarette companies wanted these claims to be made by experts and others, not directly associated with the cigarette industry, and they wanted to attract media attention. So secondary value of ARISE was to provide a venue for celebrity speakers who would be guaranteed to rail against the "Puritan anti-smoking activists" who were promoting the "Nanny State". They already had four regulars on retainer: Bernard Levin, Auberon Waugh, James Le Fanu, and Peter L Berger.


The idea of ARISE may have arisen at some earlier planning meetings in the late 1988, but the idea emerged certainly by May 1990 within the Swiss company FTR Science & Technology (a research auxiliary of Philip Morris"). These are two sections out their May 1990 Monthly Activity report. [IAQ = Indoor Air Quality].

Source documents: This early suggestion for ARISE was circulated in a monthly report by science lobbyist Helmut Gaisch (HGA) and Ianacou Marcovitch (IAM) of the Swiss research firm FTR, in May 1990.

These three scientific lobbyists (Gaisch, Rief and Marcovitch) are all employed at the offices Fabriques De Tabac Reunies SA in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

- HGA is Helmut Gaisch, the CEO of the Science & Technology Unit and the main organiser in Switzerland. FTR also covers the United Nations and the World Health Organisation -- very important to the tobacco industry

- IAM Is Iancou A, Marcovitch, often known as "Marco'. He is a specialist disinformation executive and at this time, the main recruiter for the industry's European witness program.

- HER Is Helmut Reif, the deputy to Helmut Gaisch, who did most of the leg work. He ran the recruitment for the industry's European witness program.

- Prof. Roger Perry of Imperial College ran the ARIA (Associates for Research on Indoor Air) for the tobacco industry.

- CORESTA (Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco) is the international organisation of tobacco leaf experts who set testing standards.

The original source document can be found at:   https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/srfd0021

Scope and Rationale

ARISE, which is only vaguely more than a pseudo-scientific association of pharmacology experts looking for a good life, was run on a global basis. The aim (from the member's viewpoint) appears to be that in the northern-hemisphere winter they fancied the idea of regular workshops, meetings and seminars held in exotic locations with their travel and accommodation funded by a range of industries which made addictive and unhealthy products. For a couple of decades, it appears as if ARISE pretended to be a genuine collective of psycho-pharmacology researchers discussing serious matters -- but it was merely a planned junket for a rather narrow core group who acted as 'consultants' and 'expert witnesses' for the industries which funded them.

The industries exploited the conferences on a regular (at least biannual) basis, since the name ARISE alone guaranteed excellent media coverage. The conference venue moved to various locations around the world (Australia included) on a needs basis, when one of the funding industries was under public, political or regulatory pressure a conference would be arranged. Some of their conferences were held on the trot, moving from one venue to another to get maximum media coverage

Tobacco was the main funder ... or at least, the one we know most about (we have grant/budget document, and many letters and reports). Tobacco companies were gigantic multiple-industry conglomerates who owned and manufactured other indulgent products that were often under attack as unhealth also: chocolate/confectionary, tea and coffee, soft-drinks, ice-cream and alcohol. So there was a range of other industries who contributed funding to these conferences to their own advantage, along with cigarettes.

Scroll document

In this early letter Warburton is writing to to Ray Thornton, the head of PR at British-American Tobacco. BAT appears to have taken control of the project even though the idea came from FTR, (a subsidiary of Philip Morris).

Warburton is outlining the proposal and listed potential speakers for the first conference.
NOTE: the proposed list of invitees. The names listed here all became regulars.

The Media

The conference organisers always invited at least one celebrity from a short-list of well-known personalities (including newspaper columnist James Le Fanu and sociologist-author Peter L Berger) to be the 'key-note speaker'. The celebrity would then be made available to the press, radio and TV through a local PR company, and he would broadcast the required message. This is what these conferences were all about.

The conference participants maintained the idea that 'stress' was the most serious health problem in the modern world. Since smoking relieved stress, it should be considered as a benefit to mankind. When calculating the social-costs of lung-cancer and heart disease from cigarettes, the benefit from stress-release must also be considered in analysis. They also promoted the idea that smoking was a human right, while completely ignoring the plight of the non-smoker.

The UK's celebrity curmudgeons Bernard Levin and Auberon Waugh were the most useful of these contractors because they would rail against the "blue-nose critics of enjoyment", and they loudly proclaimed the "rise of the Nanny state" where smoking, drinking and even coffee drinking was likely to be banned. The "Nanny state" became a popular catch phrase associated with ARISE, Thatcherism and Libertarian economics.

An independent clinical psychologist named Dr Robert McBride from SensoMetrics in Mosman, NSW, was the Australian representative of ARISE. He was a speaker at most of their conferences and he always spoke on the same subject.

Source:  https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/pgkg0200

Note on the last page of the document above:

  • Travel costs for the 10 participants (+ 4 corporate people) would be £13,000 and accomodation for 2 days would be £16,000.
  • They are planning to enlist Digby Anderson and Geoff Lowe from the IEA to provide a social and psychological slant on the proceedings.
    • Digby Anderson ran the Social Affairs Unit (SAU) which was a branch of the Institute of Economic Affairs (and therefore the Atlas Group). The IEA itself was a major lobbying contractor for the tobacco companies, and the SAU provided many services.
         [Two other subsidiaries of the IEA, FOREST (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco) and ESEF, (European Science and Environmental Foundation) had been especially formed to service different aspect of the international tobacco lobby. ESEF then enlisted other industries, and ran a "junk science" operation across Europe which was linked into the Heidelberg Appeal against the Paris climate accords.]
    • Geoffrey Lowe was an academic psychologist from Hull University who worked for the industry on occasions.

  • SCR Associati Calumet, refers to a long-term Philip Morris Europe staff lobbyist Tana Lyn Wells who had retired to Switzerland and now ran Wells Publishing . She also controlled a 'non-profit' think-tank named AGORA, which produced its own give-away magazine, and she published BAT's Perspective magazine (a giveaway). The AGORA magazine was a glossy pay-for-publishing magazine used by a range of industries, and it promoted itself by asking for a 'donation' of £10,000 which would bring the funder 1000 subsidised subscriptions for free mailing to their choice of opinion leaders. https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/pqdv0199

BAT's 1997 budget papers show that the IEA's Social Affairs Unit was getting a 'donation' of £60,000 (channelled via the IEA) to produce a sponsored brochure on Risk Assessment (a major multiple industry program designed to hamstring the government regulators). Well's AGORA think-tank/publishing house would work with a group of scientists on producing a public brochure explaining why the regulators should use these industry-devised risk-assessment procedures, rather than just rely on toxicology and epidemiology.

The budget for these projects was:

  • £100,000 for the brochure,
  • £80,000 for a video news release production, and
  • £80,000 for a speaking tour of 10 key markets to sell the idea to politicians.

They also put aside production costs of £70,000 for AGORA to produce a separate video "featuring independent academics and advertising practitioners giving their views [on advertising] of the tobacco and alcohol industries.
See:  https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/htph0219
"Risk Assessment" was a modified form of cost-benefit analysis taught at some Business Colleges under the name "Decision Sciences". A number of industries with polluting and poisoning problems were trying to impose 'risk assessment' onto the regulators to replace their traditional reliance on toxicology and epidemiology. The idea here was to generate accountancy figures for, say, 'the relief of worker stress', that could be claimed as a benefit in increased productivity from smoking; offsetting its "social cost".

The value of diversity.

The UK organisers of ARISE, Professors David Warburton of Reading University, and Ian Hindmarch of Surrey University could both claim to be specialised nicotine researchers (as were a few others in the small group). Other members, like Gert Kobal were specialists in the food industry. This diversity of industries meant that they weren't automatically seen as spokespeople for cigarettes, while using the local media to denounce claims that cigarettes were addictive by talking about cocaine and heroin. They said that smoking was simply 'pleasantly habituating'.

Few researchers, commentators or journalists believed this for a minute, but it made a good story when sprouted by a professor of psycho-pharmacology. In fact it was sufficiently sensational to generate a storm of media stories which suggested to the nicotine addicts that the science was still not settled, so they could always give up later. This excuse was all the excuse a country's major political parties needed to avoid taking action to ban smoking and upset their potential voters.

A later report to BAT.

At this stage the ARISE operation was under the control of the British American Tobacco, and apparently also with Cadbury-Schweppes (BAT may have owned it at this time).
    In Australia, the Cadbury Schweppes production office was listed as being within the "Food beverages and tobacco industries" and owned by Nelson Tobacco Co Pty Ltd and Allen's Confectionery Ltd.

Obviously they had conducted some sort of a survey, however the member's wouldn't have had either the financial capacity or the interest in this sort of research. The tobacco industry was also obviously financing the ARISE newsletter and the April workshop in Amsterdam.

The source document for this ARISE letter is 26 pages and can be found here. (It has been scanned sideways).

Also worth looking at is a long report on media exposure arising from the November 1994 ARISE meetings which were more in the nature of a tour, since they were held in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. NOTE: However the source document is 80 pages in length and has also been misscanned: See here

There is also a later Kyoto conference report worth checking: https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/zpvh0053

Documents in UCSF archive
ARISE + Warburton - 2,734
Bernard Levin - 361
Auberon Waugh - 321
"Nanny state" - 1035

Stewart Fist,
70 Middle Harbour Road,
Lindfield NSW 2070

    Contact: editor@sciencecorruption.com