1960 – 1979 Lawyers Run the Show

1960: Filter 2.0

Five days before the release of the 1964 Surgeon General’s report American Tobacco marketed the first supposedly low yield cigarette, Carlton.  It featured the air vented  filter.

In 1966 Lorillard Tobacco introduced True cigarette brand.  By the 1970s all of the major cigarette manufacturers had brands touted as low tar and light.

1966: C.T.R. Special Projects

In 1964 two months after the Surgeon General’s Report the TIRC is renamed the Council for Tobacco Research in an effort to distance itself from tobacco industry control.  However, internal control of the research is strengthened with the industry lawyers, not scientists, selecting many of the projects that would get funded.  The lawyer selected studies called “Special Projects” were intended to foster friendly research and provide scientific witnesses to present the industry point of view to Congress.

1966 special project full document

1968: Truth Squad

The Tobacco Institute spokespersons spread the industry message of doubt about the health charges coast to coast by way of radio, television and live appearances. Known as the ‘Truth Squad’ these PR professionals do their best to present the ‘other side’ of the so-called Cigarette Controversy.

1971: End of TV Marketing?

In 1971 the last US tobacco commercial aired, however the tobacco industry never missed a beat. The cigarette logos returned to television with sponsorships of sporting and cultural events.  Philip Morris sponsored Virginia Slims Tennis Tournaments with Billie Jean King as the prime promoter. In 1972, NASCAR races were renamed Winston Cup Series sponsored by RJ Reynold’s Winston cigarettes until 2003.

1972: Twenty Year Campaign to Cast Doubt

The 20 year PR campaign to cast doubt on the smoking and health charge had been success according to a 1972 TI memo. 
  • “For nearly twenty years, this industry has employed a single strategy to defend itself on three major fronts — litigation, politics, and public opinion.  It has always been a holding strategy, consisting of creating doubt about the health charge without actually denying it.”
  • “On the litigation front for which the strategy was designed, it has been successful.  While we have not lost a liability case, this is not because juries have rejected the anti-smoking arguments.”

1979: Attack on The Surgeon General

Seeking to neutralize the impact of the 1979 Surgeon General report, a special 15th anniversary edition, the Tobacco Institute executed a high profile counter-event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington the day before the report was released. At the press conference TI spokesman Bill Dwyer lashed out at H.E.W. Secretary Joe Califano.

“In an apparent attempt to bring some science to the side of his new evangelism, the former three-pack-a-day Secretary told the Surgeon General to prepare a new Report. Its issuance, an internal HEW memo said, ‘would be a media event.’ Turning a significant health question into a publicity stunt is an insult to serious science.”


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