Ned Shaw

The public distrusts their science and even colleagues can question their motives, but researchers in controversial fields say they're making the world a better place. "I can't think of more important work that I could be doing [for public health]," says Jim Swauger, a toxicologist at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Tobacco companies? A great place to contribute to public health?

It's no joke to Tony Albino, whose long track record in cancer research and stint as director of the American Health Foundation, make his current position particularly surprising. He is the public health director at Vector Tobacco.

Albino's move from an antismoking cancer center was a public relations coup for Vector. But he says it was a difficult decision for him. "The specific payoff here, of reducing the toxicity, morbidity, and mortality associated with tobacco, left me no choice," he says. "It was an opportunity I couldn't pass...

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