June 14, 1998 |
In Richmond, Va., the real heart of Marlboro country, just 100 miles south of here, Gov. James S. Gilmore 3d spoke at a rally of tobacco farmers Thursday and sent a message to Congress: "These workers here today are under attack from politicians in Washington who want to regulate and tax them out of existence. " Gilmore was probably aiming at too narrow a target. Last week, Washington was just one front in the war on tobacco - and things were not looking good for the industry on most of them.
January 19, 1998 |
On a visit to Philadelphia not long ago, Big Tobacco troubleshooter J. Philip Carlton remarked that his client "clearly has problems. " What an understatement. Nearly seven months after America's cigarette makers signed a historic truce with antitobacco lawyers - promising to pay $368.5 billion for a slew of public health programs in exchange for broad immunity from civil lawsuits - the whole thing may well go up in smoke. Members of Congress, who return to work next Monday, are increasingly nervous about the political costs of ratifying a deal sought by an industry whose baggage weighs heavier by the day. And Big Tobacco's battered image probably will take some more hits.
December 4, 2000 |
Ever since Councilman Nutter introduced smoke-free workplace legislation in May, there's been a loud and heated controversy over the issue. Even though the legislation covers workplaces in general, all of the debate has focused on restaurants. You may be thinking that this is a typical conflict between health and environmental interests on one side, business profits on the other. This is exactly what the cigarette companies want you to think. In fact, there will be no losses to restaurants.
July 11, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Philadelphia was one Senate vote away from winning its $2-per-pack cigarette tax in the General Assembly on Tuesday. But after a late-hour lobbying effort by tobacco manufacturers, the senators jammed in a provision setting a five-year expiration for the tax. So, despite the prospect of delayed public school openings and hundreds of layoffs, the bill was sent back to the House, which had departed for its summer break and may not...
July 9, 1999
Anyone concerned with improving public health in America should cheer Wednesday's initial finding in a landmark lawsuit. A Miami jury has held Big Tobacco liable for making a defective product - and defrauding consumers - in the first class-action lawsuit by smokers ever to go to trial. The jury next will determine damages, which could cost the five largest tobacco companies up to $200 billion, paid to as many as 500,000 sick Florida smokers. That staggering sum would come on top of the $206 billion the industry already has agreed to pay 46 states for smoking-related Medicaid costs.
January 18, 1998
Say it ain't so, Joe Camel. Say that your parent company, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, didn't spend years trying to hook teenagers on Camels and other brands of coffin-nails. Well, the company's still issuing straight-faced denials, but they became laughable last week. Newly released company documents - dozens of them - expose RJR's intense interest in marketing to kids as young as 14. This is one more blow to Big Tobacco's credibility. And it's another reason for Congress to act carefully and independently in crafting legislation aimed at a dramatic decline in smoking among minors.
July 17, 1998 |
It takes a nice man to represent an evil industry. Which may be why Big Tobacco has hired Bob Heim as lead defense attorney in the trial of a $200 billion class-action lawsuit brought by smokers in Florida. Jury selection in the case got under way last week. Heim is a partner in the Philadelphia firm of Dechert Price & Rhoads. And, yes, he used to smoke. But he quit. Which sums up his case. "I quit because it seemed to me that if you smoked, you were going to have a higher risk of getting a disease," Heim said in an interview from Miami.
July 18, 2000 |
The Big Tobacco Tar Baby has been whining all weekend. "I'll go bankrupt," it's saying, "before I'll pay the $145 billion verdict just rendered in Florida. " Like a child in the terrible twos, it threatens to hold its breath. Well, society must quit spoiling this youngster who has been sinning (and lying about it) for a half century. We must get it to pay up - and we must continue to seek redress for its sins. Our work is far from done. Pouting is a time-honored Big T strategy; it's a way of fighting any efforts to force it to accept shared responsibility for having become the major cause of preventable death and disability on earth.
February 2, 1998
Tobacco companies are test-marketing something new: candor and contrition. That's welcome, but after so many years of industry irresponsibility, policy-makers and the public should beware. A quintet of industry execs last week admitted to some awkward truths. They conceded the link between cigarettes and lung cancer, and all but one of them allowed as how cigarettes are addictive. What's more, their testimony on Capitol Hill was soaked with regret that their industry had spent recent years warring with the antismoking forces.
November 5, 1999 |
"The Insider" is about Big Tobacco, infotainment, journalistic ethics and half a dozen other weighty subjects, but at its heart, it's a horror story. A thriller about what it's like to have at least nine of the world's most powerful corporations and your wife all mad at you at the same time. Tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) can tell you all about it. Wigand, a biochemist for drug companies, goes for the big salary and swank house by taking a job as director of research for Brown and Williamson, the cigarette-maker.