Tag Archives: tobacco companies

Tobacco Companies Target Young Female Smokers: Hot Pink Ladies-Only

We don’t see much of the Marlboro Man anymore, but what about the “Virginia Slims” woman? Everybody knows what happened to him – or them, two of whom died from lung cancer.

She, however, was never quite as iconic. But that doesn’t mean the tobacco companies don’t have a soft spot for women, especially the young ones, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the report alleges tobacco companies are trying to cultivate a generation of new users with fruity flavored cigarettes and marketing campaigns that target young people, including young women and girls.

In particular, the report takes issue with a recent R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company campaign that it says is clearly designed to attract girls with hot pink product packaging, ladies-only nights at clubs and cutesy party giveaway bags containing cigarettes, berry-flavored lip gloss and cell phone “bling.”

David Howard, spokesman for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, said the Camel No. 9 marketing campaign is not about reaching young people. There are 20 million adult women smokers, Howard said, and 19 million of them smoke some brand other than Camel. Health organizations involved with the report, however, insist the ads cross the line against marketing tobacco products to youth. The report was released in collaboration with the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.

“It seems pretty clear that the ads were designed to appeal to young girls and 20-somethings,” said Ellen Vargyus, counsel for the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking organization. “From [tobacco companies’] point of view, it’s sound marketing to do that. We know that 80 percent of smokers start before they’re 18.”

“In the days when tobacco companies were not so careful about what they said they used to call teens ‘replacement smokers,’” Vargyus said.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 178,000 women die from smoking-related diseases in a year. While death from uterine and stomach cancer has decreased in the last 70 years, lung cancer has surged among women, with an increase in incidence of almost 400 percent in the last 20 years.

The Camel No. 9 campaign caused quite a stir last fall. A group of 40 U.S. House members sent letters to 11 magazines calling on them to stop carrying the ads. The magazines, and their parent companies after them, either did not respond or refused.

Courtesy of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.If the goal of the ads was to get cigarettes in the hands of young women and girls, tobacco companies chose the right style and place, said Rosemarie Conforti, a professor of media literacy and education at Southern Connecticut State University.

“In the age of age aspiration, there are many teen girls who are reading these magazines because they want to be older,” Conforti said. “Magazines, and they know this, are absolutely the manual on how to be a young woman.”

Conforti said the fashion layout especially is the kind of guide girls love. It tells you how to be sophisticated and fashion-forward in three simple steps, she said, and it shows you the lifestyle that goes along with it through the cigarette ad on the right.

“Obviously, the fourth implied step is: ‘And smoke,’” Conforti said.

As these kinds of ads define what it means to be a woman, Conforti said, they also establish a benchmark against which girls and women measure themselves, having a cumulative impact that is more about long-term effects on lifestyle and less about one particular product.

R.J. Reynolds has said it will not advertise in print magazines in 2008. The Camel No. 9 campaign, however, continues online and through other promotional materials that are given away at bar parties.

“The innocence mixed with the sophistication – the roses and the pink mixed with the black — it’s the two sides that every girl wants to be,” Conforti said. “Sweet and sexy, sweet and sexy, that’s what women hear over and over again. You can either be an angel or a whore, and we don’t have a lot of choices for what’s right down the middle.”

Source: Kahrin Deines, Medill Reports/Chicago

Universities Reject Funding From Tobacco Companies

“Just because it’s green, we don’t have to take it,” said Paula Murray, associate dean at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, to The New York Times.

Murray was referring to her school’s recent decision to cut off all funding from Philip Morris, a cigarette manufacturer that has donated over $308,500 to business schools like McCombs since 1989.

The University of Texas (UT) is just one of the many universities across the United States that have recently deemed contributions from tobacco companies “tainted.” On ethical grounds, these schools have decided to ban tobacco companies from funding university development and research.

Philip Morris, which has partnered with UT for many years, had been pressing for a more active role in the McCombs community. Although they already had a program set up to recruit business students as employees, they had asked for more interaction with the students. In December, the McCombs School decided to ban funding for student organizations and faculty research from companies that manufacture cigarettes.

“What it came down to for us was the ethical dimension,” said Dean of the McCombs School of Business George W. Gau, to The New York Times. “The leadership of the school felt that in some sense it was tainted money, that it is money gotten from a product that is significantly harming people.”

Other schools that have banned cigarette company funds include the University of North Carolina, the Universities of Iowa and Arizona, Louisiana State, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Ohio State.

At Stanford, a ban on contributions from cigarette companies was considered, but the idea was dropped after numerous protests from faculty researchers who feared they would not be able to support their research without those funds.

Robert Tisch, late chairman of the Loews Corporation, which produces five brands of cigarettes, including Newport, donated $10 million to fund cancer research at Duke University in 2006.

“The benevolence of the Preston Robert Tisch family will have an enormous impact upon the search for new brain tumor treatments,” Victor Dzau, president and CEO of the Duke University Health System said according to a Duke University news release. “Their contribution will enable Duke to recruit and retain the brightest researchers and will create tremendous promise for all cancer research at Duke.”

Just a year earlier, Duke accepted $15 million from cigarette company Philip Morris to fund the development of the new Comprehensive Cancer Center, which aimed to research ways to help people quit smoking.

Some questioned the tobacco company’s interest in funding a center for smoking cessation and worried that giving Phillip Morris ties to a cancer research center would allow them to tamper with the research.

“You know that saying ‘Bombing for peace is like f—ing for chastity’? Well funding cancer research with cigarette money is kind of like that,” said first-year biology and pre-veterinary major Grace Normann. “It’s paradoxical and unethical.”

“The argument for rejecting funding is that the tobacco industry has a 50-plus-year history of a corrupting influence on medical research,” said Dr. Michael J. Thun, the chief of epidemiological research at the American Cancer Society, to The New York Times.

Yet Duke remained insistent that the university’s scientists alone will control the direction of the research. They retain the right to publish results without having Philip Morris approve them.

“We were cautious in considering whether to accept this grant or not. We would not want to be part of any whitewashed effort,” said R. Sanders Williams, dean of the Duke medical school.

RJ Reynolds BuildingThe American Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to help smokers quit, provides grants to universities that wish to do research without accepting additional funding from tobacco companies. The foundation has granted over 300 grants, valued at over $150 million. to support research in tobacco prevention and related topics over the years.

“It’s one of those times where you ask ‘where do you draw the line?'” Director of Student Finances Anthony Gurley said. “If you decide not to accept money from tobacco companies, do you accept money from pharmaceutical companies or chemical companies?”

Ethical dilemmas such as this occur in many forms at colleges and universities across the country. At Guilford, Coke products were replaced by Pepsi products, though many students argued that this was a useless swap because Pepsi, like Coke, has been criticized for similar environmental and human rights violations.

The school has worked to accommodate the concerns of its students by considering ethical standards in their re-bidding of the dining contract. The current provider, Sodexho USA, has long been subject to ethical complaints.

“We make changes based on the responses of the students, and if it goes against something the college stands for,” said Dean for Campus Life Aaron Fetrow, “like the switch from Coke to Pepsi, or when students decided they didn’t want Starbucks so we made the switch to Green Mountain Coffee. We look for (solutions) that don’t harm the global environment and the world.”

Source: Lauren Newmyer, The Guilfordian

Tobacco Industry Puts Profits Before Kids in Defeating Oregon Ballot Initiative

Statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Tobacco or Kids? Who has values?

Washington, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — By telling $12 million worth of lies, the Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds tobacco companies have again protected their profits at the expense of children.

By defeating a ballot initiative to increase Oregon’s cigarette tax and fund health care for children it is pretty evident where big tobacco stands.

The tobacco companies will profit by selling more cigarettes, while Oregonians will pay a terrible price with more kids addicted to tobacco, more lives lost and more kids without health care.

Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds opposed this initiative because they know that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among children, and they also know that the public strongly supports increasing the cigarette tax.

These tobacco companies knew they couldn’t win by arguing against the cigarette tax increase, so they spent a record $12 million to change the subject and deceive the voters of Oregon. In fact, the tobacco companies made this election about anything but the cigarette tax increase, which is the one issue they truly cared about.

Throughout the campaign, media reports regularly exposed the industry’s deceptive tactics, including the creation of an industry-funded front group — Oregonians Against the Blank Check; RJR’s distribution of a mass-mailed letter that appeared to come from a first-grade teacher, but was mailed from the office of the company’s lobbyist; and false claims in TV ads.

The tobacco companies’ ads falsely claimed that the money raised would not be spent on children’s health care and manufactured controversy about amending the Oregon Constitution despite the fact it has similarly been amended many times (and the tobacco companies themselves have proposed constitutional amendments in other states).

The $12 million spent by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds more than doubled the previous record for an Oregon ballot initiative and was nearly four times what proponents of the initiative spent. Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds should be held accountable for the high cost in health, lives and money that the people of Oregon will pay.

Because this measure was defeated, 29,000 more kids will become smokers, 13,000 lives will be lost to tobacco-caused disease, and Oregon will pay $662 million more in long-term health care costs. In addition, more than 100,000 deserving Oregon children will go without the health coverage Measure 50 would have provided.

Image of KidsThe Oregon outcome does not change the fact that the public strongly supports increasing tobacco taxes. National and state polls across the country show overwhelming support for tobacco tax increases — support that extends across party lines, from smokers and non-smokers alike, throughout
all regions.

Since Jan. 1, 2002, 44 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have increased their cigarette tax rates more than 75 times — more than doubling the national average cigarette tax from 43.4 cents to $1.09 a pack. Increasing federal and cigarette taxes remains one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids, and the public will continue to support it.

Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Measure 50 Fails in Oregon

Measure 50 would have raised the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 85 cents to pay for children’s health care and other programs in Oregon.

Don’t let this failure for the health of Oregon’s children lead you to believe that Big Tobacco will always win.

There will always be web sites like Ciggyfree to point out how Big Tobacco manipulates people, our land, our air, and even rewires our brains.

Tobacco addiction is the intention of this industry which in turn reduces the quality of all human life on our planet — all for the sake of padding the selfish coffers of their corporate greed.

CoveringShame on YOU BIG TOBACCO and shame on those who support Big Tobacco.
You are all a bunch of moraless souls putting profits above the value of life.

Are You ‘For Sale’ on Measure 50 in Oregon

Big Tobacco is sweating this one out after poison-nicotine profits supply $12 millions for subverting Oregon voters.

That old cliche “The nation’s eyes are on you” is quite literally true for Tuesday’s vote. 

Big Tobacco has been forced to wreak out the largest bribe-run of political-ad monies in Oregon’s history, with $12 millions already spent.

Campaign contributions alone may have set up this sequence by providing confrontation within the Legislature, but true-decision still remains right where it should be – with the citizens themselves.

Right or wrong, Oregon’s response may well shape up first the Congressional action on SCHIP –national children’s health insurance– and then foreshadow final action for universal health insurance in this nation, too.

What we DO, here-and-now, will then have strong impact on upcoming rapid decisions for universal health care at the two basic-levels/demanded very soon.

Oregon may very literally lead the nation on this consummately consequential vote.

That fact is making many Oregonians face up irrevocably to their own conscience as they contemplate a very simple choice:

Cheerleader PictureVOTE NO – resoundingly defying and denying the money power never more manipulative -applied than by Big Tobacco, or be side-tracked into submission-AGAIN by the slickly-contrived ads, concentrated on cooking the facts to pervert votes by clearly-crooked presentations-everywhere; with repetition and wide release the keys to subversion of the well known public will.

THINK-again before you act, if you are on the fence over this one.

That expensive flood of tv ads, thrown up over and over again on every Oregon screen, distorts and perverts the actual realities involved here.

That headlong lie in the face of truth is commonplace and always concentrated by the Big T. side; made entirely evident by the rapid-response rebuttal with fact and authoritative statement from supporters of this historic measure.

Well known to those paid profusely to provide propaganda-results, the Big Lie that is repeated provocatively, piled high in every media channel, and pronounced proper-truth by paid authoritative persons– is simply standard procedure since there is nothing else left to provide.

That distorting/perverting overwhelming necessity for Big Tobacco is proven very prominently –over and over again, for all to see and understand– by the extremely revealing list of sponsors supplying the working-dollars for all those ads.

FOR this measure lists every conceivable public-health/service group and working organization; while Opposing lists ONLY Big Tobacco firms, and the ostensibly-local (and surely well-paid !) Big T. servant group necessary to submit the ads.

Huge impacts of nicotine-poison lifetime peonage and permanent lung damage leading to premature death are too solidly and broadly on the public record to be ignored.

In fact that has become such a well known legal fact-of-life that it is widely cited as strong precedent in any new confrontation, as in damage suits now in process covering defective voting machines –surely an ironic note here!

Today everyone knows a relative or friend or associate already so stricken– and now dehumanized by despair and depression– while awaiting a painful death, proven by the millions already so removed.

The danger is not only for smokers but for others whose atmosphere is irrevocably also permeated and poisoned by the irresponsible actions of those so-addicted they are made regardless of decencies and consideration for others.

Those consequences of getting hooked are so widely known that nowadays anyone –even a small/business-owner retailing them– must be keenly aware of what those profits really cost: Irresponsible damage to human life, peddled for pennies of profit by ANYone pandering to the propaganda and pressing approach of Big Tobacco.

Wonder what those-so-involved will answer when their growing child, keyed and informed by education and society generally, will, finally, ask: Why did you sell that poisonous stuff, Daddy?

That same question may well surface (and surely should !) within the family circle of those providing the perverted propaganda so widely seen-and-heard on every Oregon tv-news station and via radio, too.

For those who find themselves involved in helping supply that nicotine-poison today there is only one answer –the same one for any other such poisonous substance on sale once it is clearly and unmistakably so discovered: NO LONGER from me, now that I KNOW the truth.

That ID, infinitely deadly – was made centuries ago, has been known ever since, and was never, ever, allowed to interfere with profit-taking no matter what human costs were concerned.

Our American slavery era, built on Big Tobacco colonial-produced profits, was wiped away only by one of the world’s most excruciating national spasms, costing our struggling nation many deaths and many millions in war costs –with that same war continuing to this very day, in pursuit of the same high levels of profit promised and produced by the absolutely addictive capture always consequential to any personal use.

Those social, cultural, economic and political damages are STILL far from cleared away with ongoing consequences still excruciatingly painful to millions. They carry with them extreme healthcare costs clearly consequential both for smokers and those caught in their miasma.

Those facts are too solidly and surely fully on record –and now too widely circulated to provide conscience-clear continuance for ANYone pursuing further pandering-for-profit from this universally-dangerous nicotine-poison.

Unfair to currently-caught smokers ? WHEN has it ever been unfair to snatch away poison from the hand about to imbibe?

Unwise to add enforcement to Oregon’s Constitution ? WHY, when we have been doing so, in one way or another, ever since 1902?

Oregon’s citizens have long been known for their wit, wisdom and will –so much so I need not even cite examples, well known to most. Will we now prove up that prolonged and continuing protocol?

YOURS may be THE VERY VOTE –with others– to DO THIS JOB NOW in stopping Big Tobacco cold and commensurately censored.

Let’s send them away seething, and make them seek somewhere else to recoup their rapidly-departing power from profits produced, not-so-purely, from poisons provided the unthinking public.


Click here to learn more about Big Tobacco

Send the Carpetbaggers Home: Vote Yes on 50

Salem Oregon – What was it Deep Throat said during the Watergate fiasco? “Follow the money.”

When we do so today in the Measure 50 debate what do we find?

We find the anti-50 side has shattered all records for spending… over $10 million and still going strong… 99.999% of which comes from three out of state tobacco companies.

Oh the shock and surprise are palpable.

No? Me neither.

Big Tobacco, one of the greatest liars of the modern age, is pulling out all the stops in their desperate attempt to derail Measure 50, the Healthy Kids initiative.

To most this is a no-brainer. Raise taxes on tobacco, a known killer and health risk, to fund health care for kids. The ignorance is what is truly palpable however.

I lost track of how many folks spew the ignorant whine that if the tax decreases smoking it will reduce the revenue from the tax and make the project non-viable. This ignores a few facts. If the tax were to cover every penny that smoking costs the health care industry etc it would be over $11 a pack. So we are adding around 85 cents a pack to bring the total; to just a hair over $2 a pack. So let’s say the tax causes a million less packs to be sold. That means $2 million less in revenue from the tax BUT $11 MILLION LESS EXPENSE to the health care infrastructure.

A net GAIN of $9 million.

And couldn’t $2 million of that $9 million in savings be put back into the Healthy Kids initiative, leaving $7 in reduced health care costs that can lower insurance rates and medical costs, fund additional services or some combination of these or other things?

Getting people to quit smoking tobacco is NEVER a bad thing. For society as well as the individual it is always a positive. The smokers might not like to see it that way, but it is.

You have the right to smoke if you are 16 or older. No one is changing that. But it still does not change the fact that it is a stupid thing to do. And I quit a 3-and-a-half pack a day habit in 1985 so I am not just some anti-smoking Nazi. It was stupid then and it is even more stupid now with all the information, costs and inconveniences involved.

But you do NOT have the right to just foist all these incredibly high costs of your chosen vice onto everyone else. Why should the general public subsidize the majority of that $11+ per pack cost associated with your personal habit, especially when doing so means less of the health care pie is available to kids needing health care?

Short answer… it shouldn’t.

The argument in the ads is we should not tax a few to benefit others. The truth is we should not tax everyone to benefit the stupid personal health choices of a few. But that is the current standard, unfortunately, but Measure 50 balances it out just a little bit. Nowhere near how much it should, but a lot better than it does currently.

One of the lamest arguments provided by Big Tobacco’s well funded propaganda campaign is it is wrong to modify the Constitution of Oregon.

Who the heck do these tools think they are kidding? This is Oregon. We mess with the Constitution all the time. When was the last 4 year period where there was not at least one Constitutional amendment on the ballot? Puh-LEEZE! And we do not put tax issues into the Constitution? SINCE WHEN?

Basically the argument is too ludicrous for mere words to describe in its full grandeur.

The last argument by the desperate liars of the Big Tobacco propaganda machine is that there are kids who already qualify for the Oregon Health Plan but are not enrolled. While this is true, it is not an indictment against the OHP nor Measure 50. No one is REQUIRED to enroll. It is voluntary. Measure 50 would allow tens of thousands of kids to enroll who CANNOT enroll currently. Will some still not be enrolled? Probably. But that is the decision of the parents.

Many who qualify do not apply because of the way the system works. I know a person who could qualify, for example, for job placement assistance. But he will not do it. Why? Because not only are the jobs provided bottom of the barrel types with no future but the program requires you to attend meetings, during work hours, and these employers are not interested in giving the participants the time off, so either you get disqualified for your food stamps because you missed the meetings or you get disqualified because you got fired.

It is a no win situation and whether they are right or wrong many people feel the same way about the Oregon Health Plan. And this is just one big reason for the lack of enrollment of many who already qualify.

But that is an issue with DHS, not Measure 50.

But the most telling reason to vote YES on 50 is because out of state Big Tobacco seems to think they can come into our state like carpetbaggers in the post-Civil War South and buy elections in Oregon for their benefit and against the interests of Oregonians.

Send the carpetbaggers packing.

Help kids get health care.

Reduce the use of tobacco.

Increase the health of Oregonians overall.

Rarely can you do one right thing for so many right reasons, Do not miss the opportunity now.

Vote YES on Measure 50

Source: Political Commentary by Neal Feldman Salem-News.com

Reynolds American Adds $304,000 to Fight Oregon Measure 50

Dave Hogan from The Oregonian reported today that:

Reynolds American, the makers of Camel cigarettes, has contributed another $304,000 to the record-setting campaign against Measure 50, which would raise Oregon’s cigarette tax by 85 cents a pack.”

Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has now contributed $4.6 million to the Oregonians Against The Blank Check campaign while Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboros, and its parent company have donated $5.8 million to the Stop The Measure 50 Tax Hike committee.

Those two committees have raised far more money than any other ballot measure campaign in Oregon history.

50.gifIt looks like Reynolds has a major business problem with measure 50! If fewer people can afford to maintain smoking and fewer children pick up the addiction, tobacco profits will plummet to record lows.

In order to profit, a cigarette company needs to always find replacement smokers since the majority of smokers die before their time.

The CDC says that in 2006 tobacco use was the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and that cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about 1 of every 5 deaths, each year. This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure.

Click here to learn more The Oregonian .

Cigarette Companies Light Up More Donations Against Measure 50

In a last-drag effort to defeat Oregon’s 85-cents-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes, the makers of Camel smokes tossed in another $905,000 today against the fight to crush Measure 50.

Today’s donation puts tobacco contributions at a staggering record of $10 million so far.

Reynolds American, the producers of Camel, has now contributed $4.2 million to the campaign against Measure 50.

The other $5.8 million has come from Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro’s.

In case you were wondering what Measure 50 will do, well, allow us to tell you what it will do: Money raised from the tax increase for cigarettes would be used to pay for children’s health insurance and other health programs.

Measure 50 will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, with ballots being mailed next week.

Map of OregonWhile at least 10 other Oregon ballot measure campaigns have raised more than $5 million in adjusted-for-inflation dollars during the past 20 years, only one raised more than $7 million and none raised more than $8 million, the Oregonian reported.

Source: Joseph Friedrichs, New West

Women’s Magazines Should ‘Drop’ Camel No. 9 Cigarette Ads

It is a “big disappointment” that R J Reynolds has “found an ally” in some women’s magazines, which have “sold out the well-being of their readers” by publishing Camel No. 9 cigarette advertisements, Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) writes in a Washington Post opinion piece.

Reynolds in February launched the brand, which several public health organizations and women’s groups say are targeted at young women.

The company — in an effort to increase its market share among female smokers, who made up about 30% of Camel buyers — packaged the cigarettes in a “hot-pink fuchsia” and a “minty-green teal package” and advertised the brand with the slogan, “Light and Luscious.”

An ad campaign for the brand says the cigarettes are now “available in stiletto,” a longer, thinner cigarette.

Reynolds, which is working with the agencies Agent 16 and Gyro Worldwide, has placed ads in magazines — including Cosmopolitan, Flaunt, Glamour, Vogue, and W — and is distributing coupons and give-away packs at nightclubs (Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report

According to Capps, she and 40 other members of Congress wrote letters in June and August expressing their disappointment that 11 women’s magazines were running ads for Camel No. 9 cigarettes. Seven of the 11 magazines have responded, but “none has committed to dropping the ads,” Capps said.

Camel Lipstick Ad“No amount of pretty pink packaging can obscure the fact that lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer among American women,” Capps writes. She concludes that the magazines need to “drop these ads” because the “health of readers, America’s young women and girls, should be more important than the revenue derived from abetting the tobacco industry” (Washington Post)

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Read more about this topic atThe Washington Post

Big Tobacco Before Congress: Ex-Tobacco Scientist Tells Story at Pinon Hills, Nevada

Minden – Students of Pinon Hills Elementary School expressed both wonder and disgust when Victor DeNoble walked around showing them a piece of a human brain.

“It looks pretty cool but kind of disgusting,” said fourth-grader Timothy Cadaret at the presentation.

DeNoble, a former tobacco scientist for Philip Morris, said he approached a 63-year-old hospital patient dying of lung cancer and asked him if he could have his brain after he died. He explained to the patient that he was conducting experiments on the effects of nicotine on the human brain.

“You’re weird,” DeNoble said the patient told him.

The patient said he also hadn’t smoked for two years. But DeNoble, who had been experimenting on rats and monkeys, was convinced that the effects of nicotine on the human brain lasted even after an individual quit smoking.

“The man told me that although he hadn’t smoked in years, he still woke up every morning wanting a cigarette,” DeNoble said.

After the man died, his wife gave DeNoble permission to use his brain for experimentation. DeNoble said his initial hypothesis was right: The man’s brain cells showed nicotine-related alteration even though he hadn’t smoked for years.

Brain Image“Young people don’t really recognize that nicotine is a drug that changes their brain,” DeNoble said.

In 1983, DeNoble took the results of his experiment to his bosses at Philip Morris. According to DeNoble, they were outraged that he had been performing experiments on the brain and not working on a safer cigarette like they had hired him to do. But DeNoble told them he had also invented a safer cigarette, one with special filters and a substitute for nicotine that could reduce tar by 80 percent.

DeNoble said at first the tobacco company seemed optimistic about the new cigarette but later changed its mind.

In April 1984, DeNoble was called to the executive offices of Philip Morris.

“Our decision is final: We’re not going to lose money, and if people have to die, that’s the way it is,” DeNoble said executives told him.

Philip Morris subsequently fired DeNoble, but only after showing him a confidentiality contract he had signed that prohibited him by law from volunteering any information about the company or the experiments he had conducted.

“I went to the lab and told my partner that we had been fired,” said DeNoble. “I told him to pull our van around back, and when he asked why, I said, ‘Because we’re going to steal top secret documents.'”

DeNoble said that he gathered everything he could in his office. He said he worked so quickly and nervously that he broke one of his desk drawers. He said he threw the drawer in a box, loaded the van and left.

DeNoble said he talked to his lab partner, and they both decided to take what they knew to Congress. They found a lawyer interested in the case, and DeNoble gave him all the boxes of evidence he had been keeping in his garage.

However, DeNoble said his lawyer called a few weeks later and said someone had broken into his office and stolen all the evidence.

“Years later, I actually found out that our lawyer sold all the boxes back to Phillip Morris,” said DeNoble.

DeNoble said nothing happened for 10 years. But then, in 1994, DeNoble found out that CEOs of the seven major tobacco companies were going to testify before Congress about whether nicotine was addictive.

“My wife, who was also a scientist, came to me and said, ‘Remember when you had all that evidence in the garage, before giving it to the lawyer? Well, I looked through it, and I kept something,'” DeNoble said his wife told him.

He said his wife had found the desk drawer he had broken and hid it away without telling him. DeNoble said after his wife informed him of its whereabouts, he retrieved the drawer and in it found evidence of the experiments he had performed at Phillip Morris.

Knowing he was prohibited by law to volunteer the information, DeNoble said he drove to New Jersey and from a discreet location mailed to the FBI a photo of the secret lab he had worked in, a photo that he had found in the drawer his wife saved. Unwilling to give his name, DeNoble said he left his fingerprints all over the picture in hopes the FBI would track him down.

DeNoble said a few days later, agents showed up to his house. DeNoble said he denied everything until they took him in for questioning.

In front of a judge, DeNoble was sworn under oath to divulge what he knew.

“What does the oath mean?” DeNoble said he asked the judge.

“It means you have to tell the truth,” DeNoble said the judge said.

Because the judge’s statement was on the record, DeNoble said he felt comfortable revealing what he knew because he wasn’t volunteering the information as prohibited in his contract but rather being ordered by the court to tell the truth.

After testifying under oath, DeNoble said he raced home and told his wife to pack up because they were going to move.

“They’re going to kill us,” he said he told his wife.

Before they could leave, DeNoble said the phone rang. The person on the phone: President Bill Clinton, DeNoble said.

He said he told the president what he knew, and told him that he was scared for his life and his family. DeNoble said President Clinton told him an executive order was being issued that would nullify his contract with Philip Morris and that the Secret Service would provide protection for his family. In fact, DeNoble said, two agents were already outside his house.

According to DeNoble, the tobacco executives testifying before Congress had no idea that President Clinton knew everything he did. DeNoble said the companies were subsequently sued for $700 billion for lying to Congress and the American people.

“I’m not here today to tell you what to do,” DeNoble told students as he concluded his lecture. “I’m just giving you information. You need to make your own decisions.”

Source: Scott Neuffer at sneuffer@recordcourier.com

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