June 28, 2014

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Documentary on tobacco industry that ABC News killed in 1994 resurfaces on Internet Archive

Back in 1994 ABC News aired an important documentary on its documentary series Day One that exposed the fact that Philip Morris was manipulating nicotine delivery in its cigarettes to maximize addiction potential.  The documentary played an important role in moving the discussion of the tobacco industry forward (including then-FDA Commissioner David Kessler to propose regulation of tobacco products as well as contributing to the pressure for litigation against the cigarette companies.
Philip Morris sued ABC and ABC caved rather than defending the Day One documentary.  This shameful episode, as well as CBS's caving to Big Tobacco by attempting to spike the 60 Minutes  segment featuring former tobacco company executive and scientist Jeffery Wigand (that also included me confirming what Wigand said) is described in the excellent Frontline documentary "Smoke in the Eye,"  which can be viewed on the Internet Archive here.
It turns out that ABC spiked a second documentary, prepared for its documentary program Turning Point, "Tobacco Under Fire.". 
The first segment, which deals with advertising, is mostly of historical interest (to show that we have actually made some progress, although nothing close to most other countries, which have ad bans). 
The second segment, dealing with how the tobacco companies create front groups, however, is highly relevant today, since the "grassroots" vaper associations bear uncanny reemblances to what the tobacco companies did in (generally ineffective) efforts to organize smokers to oppose clean indoor air laws and other tobacco control policies.  It also exposes how the cigarette companies exploit farmers, both in the US and abroad.
The third segment, on trade, is also highly relevant as President Obama and other leaders around the world press for explaned rights for multinational corporations (including tobacco) to use governments to block tobacco control policies.
Check it out here.

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