NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A prominent Vanderbilt University dean who co-directs the school's public policy poll has used his credentials as a polling expert to help cigarette makers win lawsuits against sickened smokers.

WPLN-FM reports John Geer, dean of the College of Arts and Science, testified in 2014 that he was being paid $300 an hour as an expert witness.

According to the station, Geer has testified that a 1954 Gallup poll shows that smokers at the time were aware of the dangers.

Gallup officials have previously warned that the poll is being taken out of context. Gallup points to other surveys from that time that found when people said smoking was "harmful," they were thinking of risks like coughing, not cancer.

Geer did not return email or phone messages on Tuesday.

Information from: WPLN-FM,

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