A leading scientific journal will no longer publish research papers that receive any funding from tobacco companies, its editorial board said on Tuesday.

"While we continue to be interested in analyses of ways of reducing tobacco use, we will no longer be considering papers where support, in whole or in part, for the study or the researchers come from a tobacco company," the PLoS Medicine (Public Library of Science) said in an editorial.

The magazine expressed concern at "the industry's longstanding attempts to distort the science of and deflect attention away from the harmful effects of smoking.

"That the tobacco industry has behaved disreputably - denying the harms of its products, campaigning against smoking bans, marketing to young people and hiring public relations firms, consultants and front groups to enhance the public credibility of their work — is well documented."

Its new policy would be effective immediately.

PLoS Medicine is a well regarded journal covering the full spectrum of the medical sciences and belongs to the U.S.-based, non-profit organization Public Library of Science.

According to the Tobacco Atlas produced by the World Lung Foundation and American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 6 million tobacco-related deaths in 2010 worldwide, rising to 7 million in 2020.