1980 – 1999 Cigarette Marketers Try to Hold On

1980: Horace Kornegay

Horace Kornegay, President of the TI boasted that: “The Surgeon General’s media event was preempted by an Institute first-strike news conference. For the first time in the history of the cigarette controversy, a Secretary of HEW had to share the spotlight. In fact, we won top billing that night on all networks.”
Horace Kornegay 1980 Annual Meeting Speech

1980-1983: Nicotine Mastery and Addiction Denial

In the early 1980s Philip Morris conducted a very sophisticated and expensive series of experiments designed to (1) synthesize new forms of nicotine with sufficient addictive properties to reinforce cigarette smoking and (2) to use laboratory animal experiments to measure the physiological effects of nicotine. Researchers Victor DeNoble and Paul Mele managed the complex endeavor.
The experiments produced substantial data and answered some questions about nicotine. Synthetic nicotine was developed that fit the desired specification. But, the response of the animals to nicotine was distressing to Philip Morris. The rats had demonstrated ‘tolerance’ to nicotine, an outcome too closely related to the definition of addiction for the comfort of a cigarette company accustomed to denying that nicotine was addictive. The results were so adverse that P.M. was advised by legal counsel to immediately terminate nicotine research on animals.
“Despite the authors’ [DeNoble, Mele] position regarding the apparent lack of physiological dependence, their overall results are extremely unfavorable.” The laboratory was closed within days and Drs. DeNoble and Mele were forbidden to publish findings from their research.
Patrick Sirridge Shook Hardy & Bacon lawyer wrote to his counterpart at Philip Morris on July 27, 1983: “It is obvious that such a report has undesirable implications for smoking and health litigation. Tolerance is frequently cited as one of the hallmarks of addiction.”
“In the final analysis, the performing and publishing of nicotine related research clearly seems ill advised from a litigation point of view.”

1984: R.J. Reynolds Public Issues Campaign

The TI Cigarette Controversy White Papers end in 1984, so R.J. Reynolds launches its own campaign, called the “Open Debate” that questions the link between smoking and disease.


R.J. Reynolds Chairman, Edward A Horrigan, Jr.

R.J. Reynolds Chairman, Edward A Horrigan, Jr.

Replacement Smokers

Once the number one brand nationwide, R.J. Reynolds’ Winston was surpassed by Marlboro in 1975.  By 1985, Philip Morris was selling well over twice as many Marlboros as Reynolds was selling Winston.
It occurred to Reynolds management that it would be a good move to reposition Camel against Marlboro and abandon Winston, and it did. February 1, 1985 the R.J.R. marketing department wrote:
“These ads were well received due to the fun/humor aspects of the cartoons. More than any other theme, the “French Camels” appeared to attract the respondents’ attention. The main drawbacks of these executions were that . . . they may be more appealing to an even younger age group . . .”

Youth Marketing

“I believe the advantages in morning television advertising are threefold. (1) It is noncompetitive or nearly so. (2) It delivers the message to the housewife at the best possible time — and to her children. (3) The morning television pitchman (or woman) would seem to be much more effective from my observations than his (or her) night-time counterpart.”
 “There follows a listing of possible ways to counteract the anti-cigarette propaganda among young people who will shortly enter the important 18-25 age group. a) Direct refutation of anti-cigarette claims. b) Affirmative material on the place of tobacco in American life. c) The suitability of tobacco as a ‘case study’ in American history suggests a further exploitation of this means of creating a favorable image of tobacco among the young.”
 “They represent tomorrow’s cigarette business.  As this 14-24 age group matures, they will account for a key share of the total cigarette volume — for at least the next 25 years.”

1981: Superman 2 – Marlboro Product Placement

Philip Morris paid the producers of Superman 2 43,000 dollars to use the Marlboro logo on billboards and delivery trucks in the movie.

Joe Camel

1987: Tobacco Institute Focuses on Secondhand Smoke

In response to the landslide of public sentiment against social acceptability of smoking the industry turned its attention away from the primary issue, disease among smokers, to the second issue, Environmental Tobacco Smoke, also known as Second Hand Smoke.
This memo makes it clear the cigarette companies did not want the general public to know they were sponsoring another doubt machine, this one on the topic of public smoking. September 4, 1987 Center for Indoor Air Research memo on accounting procedure.  ”If Institute [Tobacco Institute] staff or outside counsel mandates material changes in these assumptions in order to make the C.I.A.R. appear more separate from The Institute, additional accounting office staff may be required to handle C.I.A.R. accounting and administration.”
“The Center will be located in Washington, D.C. but not in the same building as The Institute.  All equipment/ furniture on the premises will be the property of the Tobacco Institute and will be included on The Institute’s property tax return.”
On April 25, 1988, top Philip Morris scientist Tom Osdene writes the Tobacco Institute President Chilcote,  “I think many of us have conceptualized the E.T.S. issue as a battlefield in which the arena is dominated by public relations and legal issues while the ammunition which is used happens to be science.  It has been the purpose of C.I.A.R. as well as its precursor, the E.T.S. Advisory Committee, to provide ammunition in this fight.  I believe the most important issue one needs to examine is the role that science can play in this major controversy.”

1994: Congressional Hearings

1984 The Cigarette Controversy: Why More Research if Needed.   A review by The Tobacco Institute of recent medical and scientific evidence presented to United States congressional committees. The text of this pamphlet demonstrates that the cigarette industry never abandoned its essential technique for promoting cigarette smoking in the face of medical evidence on the dangers of tobacco … “to create doubt  about the health charge with actually denying it.”
  •   “There were basic flaws in the methods used in the major epidemiological surveys that cast doubt on the accuracy of the claimed correlations.
  •   Because they made their own decisions about smoking they constitute ‘self-selected’ samples.  Both these and other factors can bias an epidemiological study and cast doubt on its conclusions.
  •   Persistent errors in diagnosis of lung cancer as recorded on death certificates continue to cast doubt on the validity of statistical correlations in epidemiological studies and of claimed mortality patterns and trends.”
From a Philip Morris press release April 14, 1994.  In response to allegations made before Hon. Henry Waxman’s investigative committee P.M. wrote:
  •   Fact: Philip Morris does not believe that cigarettes are addictive.
  •   Fact: Philip Morris does not “manipulate” nicotine levels.

Phillip Morris Admits

19990000_-pm-original-website3  In 1999, only five years later Philip Morris admitted on its new web site that “Cigarette smoking is addictive, as that term is most commonly used today.”

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