World experts on the “evils of tobacco” are gathering in eastern Iowa for a conference that opens Friday. Chris Squier, associate dean at the University of Iowa Dental Research Center, is organizing the Iowa City meeting, and he says tobacco is taking an increasingly larger global toll as U.S. companies expand their efforts into developing nations. The three-day conference is called “The Global Tobacco Epidemic — Tobacco Control in an International Context.” Squier says it’ll gather local anti-smoking activists with health researchers from as far away as India. He says the tobacco industry works in consistent, subtle ways at all levels. During a recent effort to pass a no-smoking ordinance for restaurants in Iowa City, Squier says a discreet counter-campaign was waged by the tobacco industry — but it failed and the ordinance passed. He says the cigarette makers spread a careful campaign of disinformation in an effort to sabotage community action. Squier says tobacco use is associated with 4,900 deaths each year in Iowa and millions globally. He says the conference will bring together leading scholars in the field to discuss the crisis and look at approaches to tobacco control worldwide. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller will address the group Friday night — Squier calls Miller “a great champion of tobacco control.”