After years of litigation deciding in favor of claimants over Big Tobacco, these medical experts with university connections are turning the tables.

The Chronicle of Higher Education writes:

University Experts Renew Denials of Links Between Tobacco and Disease

After decades of legal victories by smokers over tobacco companies, some recent lawsuits are being undermined by a new round of medical experts — some with university ties — who have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispute plaintiffs’ claims, according to a study published on Friday.

The tobacco industry, after long denying connections between smoking and disease, has been ordered to pay hundreds of billions of dollars in various settlements since 1998. But Florida courts in 2006 rejected a major class-action settlement, leaving smokers and companies to fight out thousands of individual cases.

A Stanford University professor of otolaryngology, Robert K. Jackler, combed through court records of those cases. His goal: to find who was giving the tobacco companies the expert credibility they needed to continue the fight.

His conclusions, published on Friday in the journal The Laryngoscope, identified six fellow otolaryngologists — specialists in diseases of the head and neck — who have repeatedly given sworn testimony in Florida courts that offered reasons other than smoking for the cancers suffered by plaintiffs or their deceased relatives.