Cigarettes & Gummy Bears
In 1997, a tobacco company executive said, in a sworn testimony, that he believed cigarettes were no more addicting than Gummy Bears.
SOURCE: Deposition of james J. Morgan, April 17, 1997, Norma R. Broin, ET AL., Plaintiffs, VS. Philip Morris Companies, INC., Defendants. Case NO. 91-49738 CA 22. Howard A. Engle, M.D., ET AL., Plaintiffs, VS. Rj Reynolds Tobacco Company, ETC., ET AL., Defendants. Case NO. 94-08273 CA 20. Page 13 of 45 of PDF. Page 78 of real report. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. Philip Morris Collection. April 17, 1997. Bates No. 2063670882/0926
Secondhand smoke, as dangerous as 'milk & cookies'
In a 1996 European ad campaign, one tobacco company compared the dangers of secondhand smoke to eating cookies or drinking whole milk.
SOURCE: Philip Morris Europe SA. ""Second-hand tobacco smoke in perspective. What risks do you take?"" 1994. Bates No. 2501066695
Babies and Smoking
In 1996, a tobacco company executive answered the question of how infants can avoid secondhand smoke by saying: "At some point they begin to crawl."
SOURCE: Trial testimony of Michael Wayne Ogden, Ph.D., March 17, 2005, United States of America V. Philip Morris USA INC. Bates No. OGDENM031705
Nicotine = Poison
Back in 1978, one tobacco company executive said: "Very few consumers are aware of the effects of nicotine, i.e., its addictive nature and that nicotine is a poison."
SOURCE: H.D. Steele. Memorandum, August 24, 1978. Future Consumer Reaction to Nicotine. Brown and Williamson collection. Document Date: 08/24/1978. Bates No.: 776078962
The Business of Death
In a 1987 memo, a Philip Morris executive wrote: "... [T]he 1982-83 round of price increases caused two million adults to quit smoking and prevented 600,000 teenagers from starting to smoke. Those teenagers are now 18-21 years old, and since about 70 percent of 18-21 year-olds and 35 percent of older smokers smoke a PM brand, this means that 700,000 of those adult quitters had been PM smokers and 420,000 of the non-starters would have been PM smokers. Thus, if Harris is right, we were hit disproportionately hard. We don't need to have that happen again."
SOURCE: Philip Morris Executive Jon Zoler, "Handling An Excise Tax Increase," PM Document. September 3, 1987. Bates No. 2022216179
Addicted to Lies
Even the tobacco executives are concerned about the addictiveness of their products. Well, sort of. In a confidential memo from 1980, a tobacco institute executive wrote: "[T]he entire matter of addiction is the most potent weapon a prosecuting attorney can have in a lung cancer/cigarette case. We can't defend continued smoking as 'free choice' if the person was 'addicted'."
SOURCE: Tobacco Institute executive, 1980. Bates No. TIMN0097164/7165
Tobacco companies have been making cigarettes more addicting for decades. In 1973, a senior scientist for a tobacco company wrote in a secret report: "Methods which may be used to increase smoke pH and/or nicotine 'kick' include: (1) increasing the amount of (strong) burley in the blend, (2) reduction of casing sugar used on the burley and/or blend, (3) use of alkaline additives, usually ammonia compounds, to the blend, (4) addition of nicotine to the blend, (5) removal of acids from the blend, (6) special filter systems to remove acids from or add alkaline materials to the smoke."
SOURCE: R.J. Reynolds senior scientist, 1973 Bates No. 502193199/3228
Most Likely to Get Hooked
Tobacco companies have been marketing their products to high school students for a long time. In a 1978 memo on the sale of Newport cigarettes, one tobacco executive wrote: "[T]he base of our business is the high school student."
SOURCE: Lorillard memo on sale of Newport cigarettes, 1978 Bates No. 03537131-03537132EXHIBIT101
Are women crazy?
Do you think women are neurotic? Some tobacco executives agree and even use it as reason to target a cigarette that delivers more nicotine to women. A 1976 British American Tobacco secret research report states: "Smoking behaviour of women differs from that of men ... [they are] more highly motivated to smoke. ... [T]hey find it harder to stop smoking. ... [W]omen are more neurotic than men and more likely to need to smoke in stressful situations, presumably because they are less well able to deal with stress. ... Given that women are more neurotic than men it seems reasonable to assume that they will react more strongly to smoking and health pressures. ... There may be a case for launching a female oriented cigarette with relatively high deliveries of nicotine."
SOURCE: British American Tobacco senior scientist, 1976. Bates no.650015623/5655
The Way of the Smoker
Even today, your chances of being a smoker go down as education and income-level go up. Back in the '80s, the tobacco executives knew this, so they figured it'd be best to market to the younger working-class. A 1986 report states that, "The concept of a working class/present oriented mindset is fully consistent with lowered levels of education. ...[O]ur market is much less highly educated than consumers in general, with the younger adult smokers becoming much less educated...in the future, marketing to a working class/present oriented mindset will be even more important in appealing to younger smokers."
SOURCE: RJR 1986. Bates no. 505923292/3295
Who's really the scum?
In 1995, one tobacco company planned to target the gay and homeless communities to increase sales. They called their plan "Project SCUM: Sub Culture Urban Marketing."
SOURCE: Project SCUM [RJ Reynolds online litigation document repository]. December 12, 1995. Bates No. 518021121 /1129
How to Keep the Dead Smoking
How do tobacco companies replace the more than 400,000 customers who die every year because of their products? In a 1984 confidential report, one tobacco company referred to younger adult smokers as "replacement smokers."
SOURCE: The Importance of Younger Adults. 1984. Bates No. 503418151/8156
Suicide is Not an Option
Tobacco companies make products that are so bad for you that some of the executives wouldn't even smoke them. In a 1989 sworn statement before Congress, a former Winston cigarettes advertising campaign model Dave Goerlitz, who later became an anti-smoking advocate, said: "Of course, children aren't the only targets of the tobacco industry. Once, when I asked an R.J. Reynolds executive why he and his colleagues didn't smoke, he responded point-blank that 'We don't smoke the sh--, we just sell it . . . We reserve that 'right' for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid."
SOURCE: Statement Of David Goerlitz Former Model For Winston Cigarettes Before The Subcommittee On Transportation And Hazardous Materials Of The House Committee On Energy And Commerce. July 25, 1989. Bates No. TI07922484
If only they had ice cream trucks
In the U.S., it's been illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone under 18 for quite some time. So why are teens important to tobacco companies? In 1981, here's how one Phillip Morris research report put it: "It is important to know as much as possible about teenage smoking and attitudes. Today's teenage is tomorrow's potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens."
SOURCE: Young Smokers Prevalence, Trends, Implications And Related Demographic Trends. March 31, 1981. Bates No. 2077864711/4712
Making Death Delicious
Who are the tobacco companies targeting when they sweeten their products? A 1972 Brown & Williamson research report, titled "Youth Cigarettes - New concepts," states: "We believe that there are pipe tobaccos that have a sweet aromatic taste. It's a well known fact that teenagers like sweet products. Honey might be considered."
SOURCE: Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation: Project Report. Sept. 1972. Bates No. 170042014
They're Inside Your Head
Do flavored-tobacco products make you think of candy? Well, maybe it's because tobacco companies had candy in mind. In a 1979 memo on fruit-flavored chewing products, one tobacco executives writes: "Many people felt that younger chewers would be attracted to products with less tobacco taste. For example, it was suggested that we investigate the possibility of borrowing switching study data from the company which produces "Life Savers" as a basis for determining which flavors enjoy the widest appeal."
SOURCE: Sedgefield Idea Sessions 790606-790607. June 8, 1979. Bates No. 81513681/3691
If you're shocked about how tobacco companies market to teens, take a look at what their secret documents have to say.
About 6 million secret documents from Big Tobacco companies
were made public in 1998.
The documents included letters, faxes, memos, emails
and research reports written by company scientists,
consultants, lawyers and even top executives, employees
and outside organizations like ad agencies, public relations
agencies and law firms.
These documents were made available to the public as part of
some big, game-changing lawsuits, mostly by states against
the tobacco companies.
The tobacco companies tried to hide many of the documents
and it took a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court - the highest
court - to permit their entry in a trial.
Check out what the tobacco companies knew, when they knew it
and more importantly, what they hid from the public.