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The Cigarette Papers
by Stanton A. Glantz
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From Library Journal
Two recent releases chronicle the history of the current political status of the controversial tobacco industry from different vantage points. Kluger's (The Paper, LJ 10/15/87) Ashes to Ashes is riveting and highly readable despite its length. From the Native American usage of tobacco through the lawsuits of the 1990s, Kluger follows the industry's agricultural and labor practices, technical advances, and marketing campaigns; he also considers research on tobacco's deleterious health effects and the tobacco control movement. Significant personalities and events such as the invention of the cigarette-rolling machine are featured. An extensive bibliography is provided, and a lengthy list of the Phillip Morris executives (and ex-executives!) are interviewed. Suitable for readers of high school age on up, this book belongs in every library. Much more scholarly, The Cigarette Papers focuses more on one company?Brown & Williamson?and one issue?health effects. In 1994, Glantz received an anonymous package containing thousands of pages of internal documents from Brown & Williamson. The author's analysis of these indicate that, public statements to the contrary, the company did indeed know about the health and safety effects of their products and actively sought to suppress the information. The documents, made available by the University of California via the Internet (http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco), are quoted extensively. Also included is a statement by Brown & Williamson in response to the 1995 publication of some of these data in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This work is extemely thorough and at times makes for tedious reading. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Eris Weaver, Marin Inst. for the Prevention of Alcohol & Other Drug Problems, Rohnert, Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Jonathan Franzen,The New Yorker
"Makes it clear that Big Tobacco has known for decades that cigarettes are lethal and addictive and has done everything in its power to suppress and deny that knowledge. . . . A shocking collection of secret industry documents."
Mary Ann Pentz, New England Journal of Medicine
"A compendium and interpretation of several thousand pages of internal Brown and Williamson documents, congressional reports, and private papers. . . . The Cigarette Papers should appeal to a wide audience, including physicians, public health workers, scientists, lawyers, policy makers, and the general public."
all in the language of tobacco insiders. . . . Provides an important public service at a time when Americans are trying to decide just how much control government should exercise over the little white sticks." (Sheryl Stolberg, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An invaluable reference. . . . Here, one can find detailed explanations of the industry's attempt at creating a 'safer cigarette,' and how lawyers managed the companies' scientific research
From Kirkus Reviews
An eye-opening expos of the workings of the tobacco industry, based on the leaked internal documents of a leading cigarette company. The setup is that of a thriller: In the spring of 1994 an express-mail box filled with 4,000 pages of tobacco-company documents turns up on the doorstep of longtime industry critic Glantz (Medicine/Univ. of California, San Francisco); the return address read ``Mr. Butts,'' the name of the fast-talking cigarette from Doonesbury. Glantz assembles a team of medical doctors and policy analysts to comb through the papers, which he lodges in the special collections division of the university library so that Brown & Williamson, the tobacco company in question, cannot block public access to them. The documents are astonishing, describing research projects with codenames like ARIEL (which sought ways to boost the nicotine kick of a cigarette), giving a behind-the-scenes look at the company's maneuverings around various lawsuits and congressional inquiries, and showing beyond any doubt that B&W, at least, was well aware of the cancerous effects of smoking decades ago, although it continues to maintain that ``causation has not been proved'' and that nicotine is not addictive. (Smokers may also be interested to know of B&W's experiments with various additives, including benzo(a)pyrene, cocoa, and deer tongue, a plant substance known to cause liver damage in test animals.) The editors' commentary helps make sense of the often arcane papers, which are couched in the language of law, chemistry, and medicine; even with their help, however, this makes for tough slogging. ``Stall any disclosure by industry as long as possible,'' one B&W memo urges. Difficult as it is to work one's way through this book, the labor yields disclosures of the sort that doubtless makes for an industry insider's worst nightmare--revelations that will add new fuel to the widening debate about smoking. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Simon Chapman, British Medical Journal
"Buy this historic book and just marvel at its revelations."
John L. Hess, The Nation
"Does for the tobacco war what the Pentagon Papers did . . . for the Vietnam War. It confirms what every admirer of private enterprise should have surmised: that the tobacco manufacturers always, but always, knew more about their product than their critics did. . . . Talk about a smoking gun here is a whole arsenal."
Around-the-clock tobacco talks, multibillion-dollar lawsuits against the major cigarette companies, and legislative wrangling over how much to tax a pack of cigarettes--these are some of the most recent episodes in the war against the tobacco companies. The Cigarette Papers shows what started it all: revelations that tobacco companies had long known the grave dangers of smoking, and did nothing about it.
In May 1994 a box containing 4,000 pages of internal tobacco industry documents arrived at the office of Professor Stanton Glantz at the University of California, San Francisco. The anonymous source of these "cigarette papers" was identified only as "Mr. Butts." These documents provide a shocking inside account of the activities of one tobacco company, Brown & Williamson, over more than thirty years. Quoting extensively from the documents themselves and analyzing what they reveal, The Cigarette Papers shows what the tobacco companies have known and galvanizes us to take action.
About the Author
Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., Lisa A. Bero, Ph.D., Peter Hanauer, LL.B., and Deborah E. Barnes, B.A., are affiliated with the Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Department of Medicine, and the Division of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco. John Slade, M.D., is with the Department of Medicine at St. Peter's Medical Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
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