Smoke In The Eye The Fight Against Big Tobacco

965 words - 4 pages

At the same time that the tobacco industry was publicly claiming that there was no scientific proof that smoking is a health hazard, official agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom had their hands tied researching and compiling information in an attempt to prove the contrary. The British Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the American Surgeon General produced almost identical conclusions not only identifying the health hazards and risks of smoking, however chastising the tobacco industry and demanding immediate appropriate remedial action. Big Tobacco called the reports incomplete and denied that their products were hazardous. On May 12, 1994 an unsolicited box of tobacco documents was delivered to Professor Stanton Glantz at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The documents (dated from the early 1950s to the early 1980s) consisted primarily of confidential Brown and Williamson (B&W) reports. These reports clearly indicated that the United States? number one tobacco company executives were aware of the health hazards their products were linked with, and they continued to deny them for over thirty years. These documents were the basis of the U.S. Congress criminal investigation and trial of Big Tobacco in 1998. Many smokers felt that their natural rights had been infringed upon, as the tobacco companies knew that they were putting their customers at risk, yet denied it, and did nothing about it. Also, knowing that they too were at risk, many non-smokers believed that they too had had their rights infringed upon, as second-hand smoke became a large issue as well. Along with the help of former tobacco executive, turned whistleblower, Jeffery Wigand (who testified against the companies claiming he, as well as others, knew about the existence of the documents), the tobacco companies were finally brought down, and the momentum from those settlements had carried over to the public smoking bans many cities, provinces and states are experiencing across North America today.For many years, tobacco companies denied that their products were health hazards, and any studies that were conducted to prove that smoking was in fact unhealthy, were dismissed and ignored by them. It was because of this that two of the worlds leading health-research agencies the British RCP, and the American Surgeon General, produced the RCP Report of 1962, and the U.S. Surgeon General?s Report of 1964. The documents were similar, as they concluded that smoking contributed to lung cancer, bronchitis, coronary heart disease and emphysema, among others. Big Tobacco avoided direct disagreement with both documents, however rendered both studies as incomplete, and demanded more. It was during this time that Big Tobacco plotted their betrayal of the U.S. government, and human beings worldwide.The unsolicited box of documents that Professor Stanton Glantz found on his doorstep on May 12, 1994 had...

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