REUTERS is reporting that U.S. Tobacco Companies refuse to come clean and admit that they manipulated nicotine levels to engineer addiction, or that they conspired to lie about effects of smoking to Generations of Americans. Reporter D. Ingram’s story, “Big Tobacco Companies Resist Admissions of Wrongdoing” provides background on the six year battle over “corrective statements” following a historic decision by Federal Judge Gladys Kessler. Judge Kessler’s findings
serve as an eye opening indictment of the industry and their legacy of lies. It is available at U.S. v. Phillip Morris, 449 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2006). The detailed legal opinion chronicles a chapter of American history that has been blurred by outright lies, media and marketing campaigns designed to distort and the endless legal battles funded by the industry. Related documents, testimony and other historically significant information is available at the University of California, San Francisco, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. This particular resource is searchable and provides documents, video, deposition testimony, internal memoranda and arguably documents that serve as the proverbial “Smoking Guns” cited by Judge Kessler.
Recent reports highlights a corporate culture of denial, deflection, deceit and manipulation that has still not found bottom. If the public were to read the findings of Judge Kessler and realize that appellate remedies have been exhausted, the public would come closer to becoming exhausted by the industry and their continued ploys to find replacement smokers in our youth and future generations. The only way Americans and children will truly learn about the dangers of smoking, and the role tobacco has played in American History, is when the history of denial is
taught in textbooks and history classes. Free choice is only truly made when the dangers are disclosed and conduct or behavior is knowingly undertaken. The addictive qualities of nicotine and tobacco remain in dispute because the past is denied.
Anyone with further interest on the history of tobacco in the United States, as well as ongoing legal battles that rage in the present, should review the sources above, as well as The Cigarette Century by Allan M. Brandt and A Question of Intent, A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry by former FDA Commissioner David Kessler. These sources provide all the needed background to understand that future generations remain at risk
of addiction because of continued denials and tangled legal battles. Sadly, this battle will continue for generations based upon a well ingrained corporate culture and the money to exhaust the civil justice system and memories of Americans.