For some time now, Eli has been carrying around another olive that he plucked from the Tobacco Archives tree (a gift that keeps on giving). Just the other day, he found the toothpick to spear it with thanks to Climate Change Communications which reposted a letter from Robert Gould and Edward Maibach appearing in a recent issue of Science
IN 1962, LUTHER TERRY, THE SURGEON GENERAL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, ESTABLISHED the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health. On 11 January 1964, he released the committee’s report, “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States” (1), which reviewed the existing science and concluded that lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are causally linked to cigarette smoking.
This landmark report marked a critical pivot in our national response to tobacco products, leading to packet warning labels, restrictions on cigarette advertising, and anti-tobacco campaigns. But it by no means ended the debate about what we now know to be horriﬁcally negative public health impacts of
tobacco use. Instead, it galvanized the tobacco companies, through their industry-funded Tobacco Institute, to publish a large number of “white papers” to rebut scientiﬁc reports critical of tobacco (2). The demise of the Tobacco Institute came in 1998, as part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, where 46 state attorneys general obtained $206 billion dollars over 25 years from the tobacco industry for its culpability in creating a public health crisis (3).
This bit of history has important parallels to our national discussion of climate change. .Concluding, and properly so with a few footnotes and
Today it’s inconceivable that an American decision-maker would risk the public opprobrium that would result from expressing skepticism that tobacco causes cancer. We believe that it is an obligation of all scientists to hasten the day when the same is true for climate change, where the stakes are even higher.
1. L. Terry et al., “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States” (U-23 Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Public Health Service Publication No. 1103, 1964).
2. Tobacco Smoke and the Nonsmoker: Scientiﬁc Integrity at the Crossroads (Tobacco Institute, Washington, DC, 1986);a fairly complete one from 1993 when the industry was worried about Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and the possibility of higher taxes. The detail and reach of the plan is a fine introduction to the tactics of the fossil fuel industry and their dependents but, of course, there is more.
John Mashey will undoubtedly comment, and Eli may have the details wrong, but the tobacco archives are the ne plus ultra document dump. So large that no one really knows what is in there. Those old enough will recall that IBM's tactic to respond to discovery in various anti-trust suits was to provide everything, truck loads of it, knowing that no one could go through the chaff to find the wheat. Until the day that CDC figured out that if you were a computer company you could build a computerized data base, and document dumps became more difficult.
Anyhow, to whet the bunnies appetites, here are some goodies from the Tobacco Institute game plan
Activate the volunteer "advocates" in our systems and begin phone bank operations to generate calls to Congress on excise taxes.
Develop generic scripts and approve generic scripts for phone backs and letter writing.
Generate news stories, editorials and commentaries critical of the EPA Risk Assessment and unreasonable smoking ban legislation.
Proactive Op-ed placement in selected hometown newspapers of key legislators
Coordinate all tobacco lobbyists through TI . This is no time for anyone to freelanceOn the sciency side we have some interesting comments
Scientific organization on how Risk Assessments done : cellular phone, ETS and others.
-Stanford Research Institute to review EPA statistics (Steve Parrish to work on who has
contacts with Stanford)
Identify one or more scientists willing to speak on the ETS subject in support of our position. Place them in speaking opportunities.
*PM TB - APCO/Burson Marsteller are identifying various environmental symposia where ETS can be raised and various policy group speakers will will be reviewed as possible candidates .
Description: A series of position papers or "White Papers" needed on the ETS and excise tax issues . Assign writers to complete the following :and, just further on, Eli has a hint of whom this was,
•Write paper on EPA Science as it relates to electromagnetic fields (EMF), diesel, and chloride in water (in process) .
PM TB/JB - Will arrange a meeting with RJR to discuss a consultant's proposal that raises the weaknesses and the ramifications of the risk assessment to the EPA. Additionally, we will discuss another proposal for EPA's methodology to be reviewed by an outside statistical groupEnjoy your assigned reading.