Tobacco Facts #3: Did you know? You can access tobacco company records

Rothman boxes on ground 2013


In 1998, attorneys from 46 US states took legal action against US tobacco companies in what was called the Masters Settlement Agreement. The tobacco companies lost the case, and subsequently were required to make their documents available through what is now known as the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, which is kept at the University of California, San Francisco and is freely available online.

Here is the web site for the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library:

There are 14 million documents there and it is growing. Many scientific papers have been published from the information on this site. You will be amazed at the deceit and outrageous tactics that have been used by the tobacco industry to promote their products over the years.

Here are just a few examples:

1) Tobacco companies ADD extra chemicals to cigarettes, in addition to the 7,000 chemicals already present in cigarette smoke. About 600 of these additives exist. They include chemicals to increase the delivery of nicotine to smokers, to perpetuate and enhance their addictiveness to cigarettes; chemicals that make cigarettes taste and feel better; even chemicals that make cigarette smoke appear attractive!

2) Tobacco companies have clearly looked in detail at populations and places where cigarettes are not heavily smoked and have targeted aggressively these areas of the world, which include poor countries and, of course, teenagers and women.

3) Tobacco companies kept secret, for years, issues that impact the health of people. For example, for over 40 years they have made a faulty cigarette filter (faulty by their own definitions), which “leaks” fibres that get into the lungs of smokers and stay there. They never controlled the marketing or production of this faulty filter.

4) One top executive for a tobacco company once suggested to his colleagues that they might add a narcotic substance to cigarettes, knowing that this would make smokers feel calmer and possibly help their aches and pains, not to mention that narcotics, like nicotine, are addictive.

There is much, much more than this- these are just a few examples. In future posts I’ll be adding information that will inform you about the incredible deceit and dishonesty, indeed human rights abuse, perpetrated over the years by the tobacco industry.

For now, if you’re interested, check that Legacy Tobacco Documents Library site out- it is a mine of amazing information, really about how profits and corporate power have manipulated the world’s people at the expense of addiction, disease and death, resulting in nothing short of the worst pandemic that humans have suffered- that of the plague of tobacco.


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