Science that is skewed or biased, especially toward a particular industry.
Mr. KENNEDY: What you're hearing from Mr. Kazman about the death rates in SUVs is tobacco science...
Mr. KAZMAN: Oh, garbage.
Mr. KENNEDY: ...and he is part of a national campaign by the automobile industry to persuade people that these deadly cars are safe.
LAUER: Real quickly, Mr. Kazman, the terrorist link connection between SUVs, fair or unfair?
Mr. KAZMAN: This is over the top nonsense. You're seeing Hollywood celebrities who ride in limousines criticizing the vehicles that everyone else buys. This is elitist nonsense. As for the safety issue, he calls it tobacco science. It's in the National Academy of Sciences 2001 report, table 2-2. It is right there for everyone to look at.
"Robert Kennedy Jr., Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sam Kazman, Competitive Enterprise Institute, discuss the pros and cons of SUVs," Today, January 28, 2003
Dr. Wes Wallace, assistant professor of emergency medicine at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, took the
anti-business rhetoric a notch higher. He referred to the
response he expected from the "science mercenaries" who work for
companies to create "public relations science" and "tobacco
"That's in honor of the tobacco industry, which deceived
lawmakers into believing there was a legitimate debate about
whether cigarettes were bad for your health," he said.
"Cigarette science is happening again, but this time with
Chris O'Brien, "Emission proposals examined," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), January 15, 1997
Earliest Citation (cigarette science):
In the U.S., the Chlorine Chemistry Council (CCC; Washington) says it has spent about $ 5 million over the past two years most of it supporting academic research on the link between breast cancer and DDT, human sperm quality, and wildlife effects of [endocrine-disrupting chemicals]. ...
Some environmental groups view the flurry of industry research as a tactic to head off regulation while public concern runs high. "We call it cigarette science," says Greenpeace Washington legislative director Rick Hind.
Peter Fairley et al., "Endocrine Disruptors," Chemical Week, May 8, 1996
Today's phrase is based on the shenanigans of the tobacco industry over the past few decades. For the longest time Big Tobacco not only wouldn't admit that cigarettes were harmful, but they also regularly trotted out "scientific" studies supporting that claim. (This is the "the-bigger-the-lie-the-greater-the-chance-people-will-believe-it" school of public relations.) Of course, most of those studies were paid for by the tobacco industry, and that's a characteristic of tobacco science: research that's paid for by the client often ends up being favorable to the client.
A synonym is cigarette science, while some closely related terms are public relations science (1987) and junk science (1986).