people smoke. Another favored area for research was whether some people have a genetic predisposition to cancer. This could keep scientists busy indefinitely.
Still, it was obvious that independent scientists would continue to investigate the health effects of smoking. . . The basic public relations strategy was to emphasize the few studies that did not prove that smoking caused disease. What could never be mentioned was that a study that does not prove a relationship between smoking and disease cannot logically prove the opposite--that no relationship exists. . . With the advent of the TIRC, the cigarette companies could say that no one spent more on research on smoking and health than they did. Most important, the TIRC would serve the function of creating a controversy. The current name of the committee is the Council for Tobacco Research and it still serves the function of making it seem like there is a valid difference of opinion among scientists about whether smoking is dangerous.
The value of the Tobacco Industry Research Committee to the industry was revealed only a few months after its creation. At a meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in early June of 1954, the American Cancer Society announced that a majority of cancer researchers, chest surgeons, and pathologists believed that smoking might lead to lung cancer. This news was carried on the front page of The New York Times on June 7, 1954. But, unlike pre-1954 articles that had allowed the news to stand alone, this article included in its third paragraph a denunciation of the statement.
Timothy V. Hartnett, chairman of the Tobacco Industry Research Committee, called the poll of doctors "biased, unscientific and filled with shortcomings."
In February of 1956, Dr. Evarts A. Graham reported on another study in which he had painted mice with tobacco tars. He had been criticized for his earlier study of this kind because he had used only one type of mouse. In this new study he used other strains and also painted rabbits' ears with the tars. Again, he induced cancer.
This time the industry was ready for him--thanks to the Tobacco Industry Research Committee. When newspapers reported Dr. Graham's study they also reported the response of the TIRC: "Doctors and scientists have often stressed the many pitfalls present in all attempts to apply flatly to humans any findings resulting from animal experiments." To a scientist, the response was worthless, but it was enough to cast doubt in the public's mind. Most important for the industry, the TIRC provided smokers with some ammunition, some arguments that justified their not quitting.
1963-07-17: LITIGATION: B&W's General Counsel Addison Yeaman writes in a memo, "Moreover, nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug effective in the release of stress mechanisms."
In context, Yeaman was concerned about the upcoming Surgeon General's report, and was writing of "the so-called 'beneficial effects of nicotine': 1) enhancing effect on the pituitary- adrenal response to stress; 2) regulation of body weight." Moreover, nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug effective in the release of stress mechanisms. But cigarettes -- we will assume the Surgeon General's Committee to say -- despite the beneficent effect of nicotine, have certain unattractive