Peter Jennings (Voice Over) This is a program about the power of big tobacco. And the failure of the Congress to do anything about it. Kenneth Warner



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Peter Jennings Reporting - From The Tobacco File:

Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect


Air Date: 9/8/04


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) This is a program about the power of big tobacco. And the failure of the Congress to do anything about it.


Kenneth Warner

Professor of Public Health, University Of Michigan



Congress, which is essentially bought by the tobacco industry, isn't willing to act to save literally tens of millions of American lives.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) But this is also a program about the failure of the country's public health leaders. They squandered an opportunity to save millions of lives.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



Look what we ended up with, which is a debacle.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The Federal government regulates the smoke that comes out of cars, and out of factories. But today, it still does not regulate the smoke that comes from a cigarette.


Peter Jennings

Hello, I'm Peter Jennings. We have kept a tobacco file at ABC News for more than 20 years. And by the late 1990s, many people thought that government and the tobacco industry and the public health community had finally made real progress in the campaign against smoking. Tonight, we're going to tell you three disturbing stories which will show you how that is wrong, and why cigarettes are still the country's number one killer.
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Announcer
Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File. Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect, Will Continue In A Moment.
Commercial Break
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Graphics: The Perfect Storm
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) For decades, it was good to be big tobacco. The public didn't trust the tobacco companies, but the shareholders did. Tobacco was extraordinarily profitable. Tobacco was killing almost 450,000 people every year. But the tobacco companies never had to pay a penny in lawsuits against them.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



Anyone who thought they could outsmart the tobacco industry had been taken for a fool.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Matt Myers has been a public health advocate for 20 years. The tobacco industry was his enemy.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



The tobacco industry has been willing to use any tactic whatsoever in order to prevent responsible legislation or action to reduce tobacco use.
Peter Jennings

And had beat back challenge after challenge after challenge from the public health.
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



And it literally crushed challenge after challenge after challenge.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) And then, in 1994, big tobacco began to lose its edge.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



1994 was potentially the most important year in tobacco control since the 1964 surgeon general's report.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In 1994, David Kessler, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, set out to regulate tobacco.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) David Kessler said cigarettes were drugs and the tobacco companies knew it.


David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



Some of today's cigarettes may, in fact, qualify as high-technology, nicotine delivery systems.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Kessler said it was time for the Federal government to regulate how cigarettes were made and how they were marketed.


David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



These findings lay to rest any notion that there is no manipulation and control of nicotine undertaken in the tobacco industry.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Never before had a government official taken on the big tobacco companies. David Kessler was portrayed as a hero.


Mitch Zeller

Food and Drug Administration, 1993-2000



The political power of the tobacco industry had left all past Food and Drug Administrations really too scared to even try to do what Kessler started in '94.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) It was a famous moment. For the first time ever, the CEOs of seven tobacco companies testified before the Congress.


Federal Judge, Male

Please consider yourself to be under oath.
Tobacco Company CEO

I don't believe that nicotine or our products are addictive.
Tobacco Company CEO

I believe nicotine is not addictive.
Tobacco Company CEO

I believe that nicotine is not addictive.
Tobacco Company CEO

I believe that nicotine is not addictive.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Everyone believed they were lying.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



Now I don't think tobacco executives ever set out to kill people. They just didn't care if they killed people if it would make them more money.
Walter Cronkite

CBS News


The Brown and Williamson tobacco corporation had research as early as 1963.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Thousands of secret industry documents revealed that the tobacco companies knew cigarettes were deadly. The companies covered it up.


Philip Morris Employee

I was employed at the Philip Morris Research Center in Richmond, Virginia, as an associate scientist.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The scientists revealed how company research showed that nicotine was addictive. The companies covered it up.


Philip Morris Employee

The lab was really quite secretive ...
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) A parade of whistleblowers in the tobacco industry spilled big tobacco's innermost secrets. And an avalanche of lawsuits against the companies began.


Attorney

Their words, "we're in the nicotine delivery business."
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Smokers sued. And then, governments sued.


Peter Jennings

For the first time, a state government is taking the tobacco industry to court on behalf of the taxpayers.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In 1994, Mike Moore was the Attorney General of Mississippi. He would become the tobacco companies' nemesis.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



All my friends told me this is the last political thing you'll ever do. I really didn't care. I knew it was the most important thing that I'd ever do in my life.
Peter Jennings

What were you hoping to achieve?
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Well, what we were hoping to achieve is that we would change the practices of the tobacco industry, make them tell the truth about their product.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) For the very first time, big tobacco was in trouble.


Nancy Kaufman

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 1991-2002



People saw the tobacco industry falling down on their knees in a really weak position and almost became giddy about it, you know? "We're winning. We're winning." We'd get these phone calls. There'd be e-mails. "Look what's happening to them now."
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Nancy Kaufman has been fighting the tobacco industry for years.


Nancy Kaufman

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 1991-2002



There were actually people in the public health community saying that the tobacco industry was going to be out of business because of what we had been doing.
Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



It seemed like everyday there was a new assault, a new article in the, in the paper, new allegations, new stories on television. It just seemed like it was never going to end.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Steve Parish. He was a senior executive for Philip Morris, in the 1990s. Now, he works for its parent company, Altria.


Peter Jennings

In those days, I don't think I'd even been allowed in the building.
Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



I'm sure you wouldn't have been. Any member of the news media would have been barred from our building. I'm sure that's true.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Today, for the first time, Mr. Parish reveals what it was like inside an industry under siege.


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



It seemed like 1994 was the year of the perfect storm. There was a sea-change in attitudes about the tobacco industry in the United States.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

The tobacco tide has turned in America.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

They are purveyors of death.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

Just say no to the tobacco industry.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

The tobacco industry's engaged in a life and death struggle for its future.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Ten years ago, the public health advocates believed that big tobacco's downfall was inevitable.

Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Announcer
Peter Jennings Reporting Form The Tobacco File, Will Return In A Moment.
Commercial Break
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Graphics: The Deal
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In the 1994 election, the tobacco companies, as usual, poured huge money into the campaigns of their political friends.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) 2-3rds of the money went to Republicans.


Senator Bob Dole

Republican, Kansas



We're winning, we're winning, we're winning.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) And when Republicans won control of the Congress, any notion of tobacco's downfall went right out the window. On the Commerce Committee, the Democratic Chairman who had made the companies swear to tell the truth was replaced by the Republican, Thomas Bliley, from Virginia.


Thomas Bliley

Chairman of Commerce Committee



We have witnessed an unprecedented assault on tobacco.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Bliley was often referred to as the Congressman from Philip Morris. The new Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, made it crystal clear what he thought of the plan at the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.


Newt Gingrich

Speaker of The House



I think the FDA has lost its mind.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) But two years later, by 1996, beyond the beltway, the guerilla war against the tobacco companies was heating up. The Attorney General of Mississippi, Mike Moore, had managed to convince 19 other attorneys general to join him in colossal lawsuits against the tobacco industry.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Smokers always lose when they sue the tobacco industry because tobacco companies always say, "yeah, it may be bad. But you made the choice." The state was in a different position. The smoker smokes. Tobacco companies sell cigarettes. The state pays for treating people with disease. So, we figured that the state wouldn't be condemned to the defense of "you smoke."
Peter Jennings

Prior to 1994, the tobacco industry had been sued many, many times in court. What was their record?
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



The tobacco companies had beaten the heck out of everybody that they'd ever taken on. Nobody had ever beaten the tobacco industry.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Publicly, the tobacco companies were defiant.


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



This lawsuit and the theory of this lawsuit is not supported by the law of Mississippi or any other state.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) But privately, they were terrified. Steve Parish tells us today they wanted nothing more than to make a deal.


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



We sensed a sea-change about, not just the product, but about the people in the industry. And if you have that sort of a shift in attitude, you're not going to survive for long. The notion that we could always fight and win, those days had to end. We just couldn't do that anymore.
Peter Jennings

What did Philip Morris want to get out of a settlement?
Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



Peace, in a word. We were looking for peace. We were trying to convince the other side to let us surrender.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The Clinton administration thought that a settlement was in the public interest. The White House encouraged Mike Moore to meet with the industry. And Moore agreed, on one condition.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



The first rule that we set down for these negotiations was, I don't want to meet with any more lawyers. I want to see the CEOs and look them in the eye. You know, they say they want to settle. They say they want to tell the truth. They want to change the industry's practices. I want to look at them eye to eye and judge that sincerity.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) On April the 3rd, 1997, at the Sheraton Hotel outside Washington, in great secrecy, the CEOs of Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds sat down with Mike Moore and one of the most trusted public health advocates in the country, Matt Myers.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



It was really an extraordinary meeting. It began with the CEO of Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds saying that they were prepared to make the kind of fundamental change that was probably unimaginable to us, even days before.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The industry opened with an offer to make dramatic changes. They were even open to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. And as a symbolic gesture, the companies offered to give up two of their advertising icons.


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



The chairman of Philip Morris said, "we are prepared to give up the Marlboro Man and RJ Reynolds is prepared to give up Joe Camel." And I think that got people's attention.
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



We're just on the other side of the table, of course, we're going, this is great. I mean, this is wonderful. The Marlboro Man is the biggest advertising icon in the world. And within a day and a half, we had the agreement that the Marlboro Man was going to be dead.
Peter Jennings

Did you ever think that a moment like this might come?
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



It never dawned on me that we could put ourselves in a position where the tobacco industry would -feel the need to make the kind of concessions that they were prepared to make.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The companies said they were ready to pay hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs for which they had been sued. But in return for all this, they wanted something. They wanted some immunity from lawsuits. Otherwise, they said, the companies would not survive.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Of course they didn't deserve anything. But if they were going to support the deal, they needed to get something out of it. Otherwise, it's not a deal.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The secret negotiations moved along quite quickly. But then, someone talked to a reporter.


Peter Jennings

When the news of these talks leaked to the public health community, what was their reaction?
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



An explosion unlike the public health community has ever seen before.
Peter Jennings

Did others in the public health community think you were a traitor at that stage?
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



Yes, absolutely.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

It's inconceivable to me that anybody representing the public interest ought to be sitting there and negotiating immunity for the tobacco industry.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

The time is not right for settlement. The tobacco industry must be held accountable.
Anti-Tobacco Speaker

The industry must not be allowed to bail itself out from their decades of lies and deceit.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Most of the big players in the public health community were outraged.
Nancy Kaufman

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 1991-2002



They absolutely objected to ever making any sort of deal with the tobacco industry. Their goal was to put the tobacco industry out of business.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Virtually no one said a word about the huge concessions the tobacco companies were making. All the focus was on the offer of legal protection to the industry.


David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



If negotiators, other negotiators around the table want to stand up this weekend or whenever they want to stand up and say there is an agreement, they do that at their peril.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) David Kessler's public attack on the negotiators was a surprise to Moore and Myers. They were winning concessions from the industry on all the issues that Kessler had fought for.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



I think our deal was absolutely a good deal because what we got on the other side was FDA regulation of nicotine. Hopefully, the effect of that was going to drive down the number of addicts, drive down the number of deaths and disease. If we could cut the deaths and disease by half, I don't care how much money it'd save the tobacco industry.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Despite the protests, the negotiations continued.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



The last two days of negotiations have been rocky and hard and tough and brutal, sometimes mean.
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Decided we'd stop by and say hello.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The White House kept encouraging the negotiators.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



What I consistently hear from the White House is our number one concern is the public health of this country.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) And then, on June the 20th, 1997, after months of contentious back and forth, the attorneys general and the tobacco companies announced they had reached a settlement.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



I've got the most important pubic health plan in history right here. We wanted to do something that would punish this industry for their past misconduct. And we have done that.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The states had extracted more from big tobacco than anyone had ever imagined possible. The companies would ban advertising billboards and vending machines.


Graphics: Ban Advertising Billboards And Vending Machines
Graphics: Stronger Warning Labels
Graphics: Full Disclosure
Graphics: Stop Marketing To Children
Graphics: $368 Billion To States
Graphics: Fund Anti-Smoking Campaigns
Graphics: Government Regulation
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) There would be stronger warning labels on cigarette packages and full disclosure of what was in a cigarette. The companies would stop marketing to children. The companies would pay $368 billion to settle the states' lawsuits. They would fund anti-smoking campaigns on a permanent basis. And the companies agreed to be regulated by the government.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



We thought we had accomplished something huge for this country. We just had dreams that the public health of this country was going to be improved. It was a very emotional day. It really was. Very exciting day, but very emotional.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) There was just one more thing to do. The agreement had to be turned into a Federal law, passed by the Congress and signed by the president.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



To the White House.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) As Mike Moore left for the White House, he had every reason to believe that President Clinton would be excited.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Before we announced the settlement, they said, "here's what the president's going to say." They read it to me.
Senator Bob Dole

Republican, Kansas



What was the president going to say?
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



He was going to say, "this is a wonderful improvement in the public health. This is going to do great things." I mean, he put his arms around it.
Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



We had been led to believe all along the way that the substance of that agreement would be endorsed by the White House.
Peter Jennings

What happened?
Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



It never came.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) For some reason the president was backing off.


President Bill Clinton

These folks have been working hard. And they've done their best. And now, we should look at it and make our judgments.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Translation, something had changed. The president's support was now in question. The settlement was in trouble.


Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Announcer
Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File, Will Return In A Moment.
Commercial Break
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Graphics: The Betrayal
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) At the beginning of 1998, Mike Moore was one of the loneliest men in Washington. The settlement with the tobacco companies was in limbo. The Clinton White House wasn't pushing it. And Mike Moore was still being attacked by the public health community.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



They kept telling us, we don't need this settlement. We'll get incremental improvements in the public health. Y'all just go back to Mississippi and wherever else and settle your little lawsuits. And we'll take care of this big picture up here in Washington.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) But Moore was not ready to give up.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Everyday we delay, 3,000 more kids start smoking and 1,000 of them are gonna die.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) And after nine months of lobbying to turn the settlement into a law, he found an ally in Senator John McCain.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



If I had to get into a hole with somebody and fight to the end, it would be John McCain, because he doesn't get out and doesn't give up until the fight's completely over, until you've won.
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



This was an industry that had lied and deceived in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, which they had accumulated, and caused the needless death and injury to I don't know how many, how many Americans.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) McCain was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



Our first priority with this proposed legislation is to prevent kids from smoking.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In only three weeks, using Mike Moore's settlement as raw material, McCain drafted a comprehensive tobacco control bill that was much tougher on the industry.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



And the bill we've agreed upon is tough medicine for a tough problem.
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



Senator McCain set out systematically to look at the flaws in the 1997 settlement and to correct them. He listened to everybody who had a criticism of the '97 settlement.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) McCain relied on the now former FDA Commissioner, David Kessler, and the retired surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, to draft a bill they would support.


David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



He cleaned up in that legislation much of the problems we had with the public health measures.
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



You know, they added money to it. They added some provisions. They tightened up some FDA regulations. Increased the advertising and marketing restrictions. And you know, grew a $368 billion bill into about a $550 billion bill.
Peter Jennings

The public health components of the McCain bill went beyond any public health advocates' wildest dreams.
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



Absolutely. They really were everything that we could have ever asked for.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) But now the tobacco companies were getting anxious. The companies had agreed to lobby their allies in Congress to support a settlement. But now, they thought the legislation was getting too punitive.


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



The costs kept going up because there was a perception that we'd agree to anything because we were desperate.
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



We had to be careful that we were becoming, coming perilously close to the point where the tobacco industry would walk away from the agreement.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The companies were still insisting on some legal protection from lawsuits in return for the public health benefits. David Kessler was reluctant.


David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



The question was whether we were going to trade one for the other. The question was, were we going to make the ultimate deal?
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) To satisfy the public health community, McCain's bill assured that the companies could be held liable for unlimited sums of money if they lost in court. But he did give the companies something, a limit on how much they would have to pay in a single year, six and a half billion dollars.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



It gave them limited liability protection. In my view, it was appropriate, particularly since we were getting hundreds of billions of dollars to conduct anti-smoking and, programs and treatment of tobacco-related illnesses. I'm very pleased to convene this morning's executive session to mark up comprehensive, bipartisan tobacco legislation.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) On April the 1st, 1998, in the commerce committee, which had many allies of the tobacco industry on it, McCain was able to accomplish the unthinkable.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The bill was approved in committee by 19 to one. Senator Ashcroft voted against it.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) He said at the time, it wasn't tough enough.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



The bill will be placed on the calendar and reported to the Senate. And this markup is adjourned.
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



I was near euphoric because we'd worked so hard to work it through the committee in a vote of 19 to one. I thought we were on our way.
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



This is a great tribute to your leadership.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) This all meant the tobacco companies would pay billions of dollars to help people quit smoking, especially teenagers. And the government would finally control how cigarettes were made and sold. Millions of lives might be saved. Everyone believed the bill was now on its way to becoming law.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



The day that the Senate Commerce Committee approved Senator McCain's bill was the day the public health community should have rejoiced.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) But that is not what happened.


C. Everett Koop

Retired Surgeon General



Indeed if you told me that this segment had been written by a representative of the tobacco industry, I would fully believe you.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) C. Everett Koop and David Kessler, the two leading public health advocates in the country, attacked the legislation.


David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



No bill is better than a watered down bill.
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



I was deeply, deeply disappointed at the behavior of both of them.
Peter Jennings

Did you believe that Dr. Kessler and Dr. Koop would support your legislation?
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



There's not a doubt in my mind. They both personally assured me that they would.
Peter Jennings

How important was it to have their support? How critical to the legislation?
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



Oh, it was, it was very critical. They were two of the most respected men in America on this issue. And it was, it was critical.
Peter Jennings

Senator McCain said that you gave him assurance that you would support the bill with liability protection in it. But you changed your mind and he doesn't know why.
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



It really was the, you know, the ultimate bargain put in front of you. Everything you ever worked for, everything you ever wanted, you could have. But there's only one little catch. Why do you have to tie those public health measures to legal liability protection for the industry?
Peter Jennings

Perhaps it's the only way to get a deal.
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



Why? Because you have to pay off the industry?
Peter Jennings

And you were prepared to ignore all of the public health components based on the $6.5 billion liability protection on an annual basis.
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



It's not about the dollars. It's about assuring the industry its future.
Peter Jennings

Some people would say that you are too deeply engaged in the war, and unable to recognize a peace settlement.
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



Peace with the industry? I'm not going there.
Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



I think a lot of us were surprised. In fact, someone, I remember, made the comment to me, these guys don't know how to say yes.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) And when Kessler and Koop attacked the bill, the tobacco companies thought a bad situation could only get worse.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) So they turned against the settlement. And in a huge ad campaign, they now cast the legislation as a tax increase.


Senator, Female

I don't like this bill.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Pro-tobacco Senators, who already thought the legislation was too tough on the industry, could now oppose the bill using Dr. Koop's and Dr. Kessler's criticism as ammunition.


Senator

But we have provisions in the bill that protect the tobacco companies.
Senator

I say let's go get the tobacco companies. But let's talk the right talk.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The legislation died in the full Senate. Senator McCain is convinced to this day that landmark legislation was defeated by the two great pillars of the public health community, Kessler and Koop.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



I think history will show that they squandered a historic opportunity. And now, we have a situation where none of their goals are being met.
Peter Jennings

The irony here, one could argue, is that some of the leading public health officials in the country and the tobacco companies ended up on exactly the same side.
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



They did. And they succeeded in killing the legislation.
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



We knew we'd get attacked from the right. We never anticipated that the far left would attack us. Kessler became part of that and Koop became part of that. We never anticipated you'd get shot from the front and shot from the back. I never figured that out.
Peter Jennings

It was the most comprehensive anti-tobacco bill ever.
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



And we will get there, Peter.
Peter Jennings

But have you ever thought that you might have to wait a very long time in order to get the public health components that would satisfy you? And that it would take so long that many people might needlessly die?
David Kessler

Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration



I understand that there are down sides, to waiting. The - regrettably, people continue to die. But we need to get this right. And we need to get this right for the duration.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In the six years since the McCain bill failed, the Congress has not passed a single piece of tobacco control legislation, and two and a half million more Americans have died from smoking.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



The division in the public health community contributed to the failure. And in the end, I think, caused us to lose an opportunity that was truly, although I hope I'm wrong, a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's a tragedy.
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Announcer
Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco Files, Will Return In A Moment.
Commercial Break
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Graphics: And The Winner Is...
Peter Jennings

Our next story from the tobacco file is about betrayal and neglect. After the McCain bill failed in the Congress, the individual states made a collective settlement of their lawsuits against the tobacco companies. There would be no government regulation of how cigarettes are manufactured. But they agreed on a few marketing restrictions. And the companies agreed to pay the states $246 billion over 25 years. The states promised they would use much of the money in the fight against smoking. And then, the states went out and broke the promise.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Virginia used some of the tobacco money to pay for new seats at a speedway. New York bought sprinklers and golf carts for this course near Buffalo. Georgia used tobacco money to renovate a hotel. Alabama helped fund a boot camp for teenagers, nothing to do with smoking. And North Carolina actually spent some of its tobacco settlement money on a tobacco warehouse, just like this one.


Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



I think it's obscene and outrageous. And it's enough to make an innocent a little cynical.
Peter Jennings

Did people come to you and make promises that they would use this money?
Senator John McCain

Republican, Arizona



Oh, sure.
Peter Jennings

For public health and for tobacco control?
Tobacco Company CEO

The commitment was made by the National Governors' Association, the National Associations of Attorneys Generals, and the governors individually, that that money would only be used for tobacco-related purposes.
Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



The governors, the legislators, and the attorneys general all said the same thing, trust us. We'll spend the money on what this fight was about. Well, fast forward. Where are we?
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Well, we're in Florida. Florida took the tobacco money and put it to good use.


Clip fom Anti-Tobacco Commercial:
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In 1999, Florida spent $70 million on a huge anti-tobacco campaign, aimed specifically at teenagers.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) They called it the truth campaign.


Anti-Tobacco Speaker

This truth message that we're bringing has power.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In Florida, many, many kids got seriously into quitting.


Anti-Tobacco Speaker

It's something that we, as a generation, believe in.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Many kids became activists. Jacob Baime was a leader.


Jacob Baime

Anti-Tobacco Youth



Our message wasn't don't smoke. It wasn't just say no to tobacco. Our message was the tobacco industry is manipulating you. Now do something about it.
Clip From Anti-Tobacco Commercial:
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) These television ads were so effective, they were copied all over the country.


Jacob Baime

Anti-Tobacco Youth



That's why the "truth" message was so appealing to the youth of Florida. Is that it made them feel like they could do something to defend their generation, to stand up for themselves and for what was right.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) This was the largest state-run anti-tobacco campaign ever designed for young people.


Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



In the first two years of its tobacco prevention program they reduced smoking among middle school students by close to 50 percent. It was the kind of decline in tobacco use that you could have only dreamed of.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) This year, the youth summit in Florida devoted to tobacco control was a shadow of its former self. The state has gutted the program. Despite getting more than $414 million from the tobacco settlement this year, Florida's Governor Bush and the state legislature gave the anti-tobacco campaign only $1 million. The tobacco industry spends that on marketing cigarettes every hour, everyday.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



$1 million.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Mike Moore was at the summit this year. He told the students they had been betrayed.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



The legislature is not helping you. The governor of this state is not helping you. If you've got a program that's working and it's saving lives, and it's going to save you hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare costs down the line, you don't turn it off. You turn it on.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) All of the ads that had done so much to cut teenage smoking have been taken off the air. There was no money to pay for them.


Jacob Baime

Anti-Tobacco Youth



What was once the most effective tobacco-control program in the country, perhaps, has now become close to nothing. It's virtually nonexistent.
Matt Meyers

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



And we've already begun to see an increase in smoking among younger people.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) All the states together have now been given billions of dollars by the tobacco companies. Only five percent of the money has been spent to actually fight smoking.


Mike Moore

Former Attorney General of Mississippi



Peter, I call it moral treason. I mean, why did we fight this fight? Why did we go through all that we went through from 1990 through all the way through this thing and take on this huge industry? There's no question in my mind we'd have 50 percent reduction in teen smoking by today if all the states had lived up to their agreement, or if we had passed the original settlement.
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Announcer
Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File, Will Return In A Moment.
Commercial Break
Graphics: Peter Jennings Reporting From The Tobacco File
Graphics: Untold Stories Of Betrayal And Neglect
Graphics: A Topsy-Turvy World
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The tobacco wars are still not over. Cigarettes are still unregulated by the government. And if you want to see the absurd consequences of this, consider the drug nicotine.


Peter Jennings

What is the role of nicotine in health?
David Sweanor

Professor of Law, University Of Ottawa



Nicotine doesn't cause cancer. Nicotine isn't a cause of lung disease, emphysema, bronchitis. Nicotine, in and of itself, isn't a huge health problem other than addiction.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Nicotine is addictive, though today, virtually every scientist says it is no worse for you than caffeine in coffee. But look at how the government regulates nicotine products designed to help people quit smoking, compared to how the government fails to regulate cigarettes.


Kenneth Warner

Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network



We have this bizarre topsy-turvy world in which we do regulate the safest forms of nicotine delivery that have been, ever been invented. The nicotine replacement products. They're heavily regulated. We don't regulate at all the dirtiest form of nicotine delivery, the cigarette.
David Sweanor

Professor of Law, University Of Ottawa



If a cigarette company wants to come out with some new type of cigarette, they can do that this afternoon. If they want to reformulate it, they can come up with a new formula this evening. I mean, there's nothing to constrain them.
Peter Jennings

No regulatory process to get a new tobacco product on the market?
David Sweanor

Professor of Law, University Of Ottawa



Nothing.
Peter Jennings

You're saying the government makes it totally easy to buy the product that kills us, and extremely difficult to buy the product which will save us?
David Sweanor

Professor of Law, University Of Ottawa



Exactly. If we came along and said how do you think we could perpetuate a major epidemic? We're doing a real good job of it.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Government has always allowed the tobacco companies to make cigarettes any way they want, and say pretty much anything about them.


Clip from Tobacco Commercial:
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) In the 1950s, when the dangers of smoking were first revealed, tobacco companies added filters, and implied they made smoking less dangerous. More people took up smoking.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) The micronite filter was made with asbestos.


Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) There was no regulation in the 1960s when tobacco companies made light cigarettes and promoted them as an alternative to quitting, they were not.


Kenneth Warner

Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network



It was a fraud. And it was a fraud that has cost us millions and millions of lives because people who would have quit smoking chose not to do so. They switched to True and a bunch of other cigarettes.
Peter Jennings

Is a light or ultra-light cigarette any safer in any way shape or form than other cigarettes?


Peter Jennings

No. Today, 70 percent, 75 percent of Americans smoke light cigarettes. And there was no change in heart disease risk. And there's no real change in lung cancer risk.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Most smokers still believe light cigarettes are safer.


Smoker

It doesn't burn all the way down, right?
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Today, several tobacco companies may be at it again. Brown And Williamson makes a cigarette called "Advance," which they say has reduced toxins. RJ Reynolds has one called "Eclipse." They say that if you are not quitting, "our cigarette is the next best choice." Without government regulation, we haven't got the vaguest idea what the truth is.


Kenneth Warner

Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network



The worry today is that if we have the tobacco industry dictating to us what's a safer cigarette, that it's going to be a fraud again.
Doctor Gregory Connolly

Harvard School of Public Health



The level of trust with the tobacco industry is virtually nil. And if this is the industry we're going to rely upon to come up with safer products, we are going to be very, very cautious.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) So, you might be surprised to find that the largest tobacco company in the world, Philip Morris, is the only cigarette-maker lobbying for government regulation of tobacco products. But why would Philip Morris want to be regulated, after all these years in which they have been left pretty much alone?


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



I believe that there is no set of voluntary steps that one company, or even the entire industry, can take that will do away with the intense mistrust that people in this country have of the tobacco industry.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Which is part of the reason they let us in to company headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. Here, in the labs, which no reporters have seen before, Philip Morris is trying to develop a cigarette that the government may agree is safer.


Jack Nelson

President of Operations, Philip Morris



In a conventional cigarette, 90 percent of the tobacco just gets burned up.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) Jack Nelson is president of operations. And this is one of their ideas, a special cigarette in a battery-powered lighter. The tobacco gets heated at a much lower temperature than cigarettes usually burn.


Jack Nelson

President of Operations, Philip Morris



Well, the burning generates four to 5,000 compounds in cigarette smoke. By not burning, maybe we cut those by a significant amount.
Peter Jennings

And you have to have this cigarette specifically in order to go into this holder?
Jack Nelson

President of Operations, Philip Morris



That's correct, a conventional cigarette won't work.
Peter Jennings

People of course tell us all the time, you simply can't be trusted. Why do you think people should believe you now?
Jack Nelson

President of Operations, Philip Morris



Well, I don't think people should only trust us. That's why we support Federal regulation of the tobacco industry.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) If Philip Morris gets the government seal of approval for a safer cigarette, that could certainly cause less death and devastation among smokers. It could also be worth a fortune.


Doctor Gregory Connolly

Harvard School of Public Health



If Philip Morris can do it and get it right, and they've got the resources to do it, they could become the tobacco monopoly of the United States of America and put the other companies out of business.
Peter Jennings

(Voice Over) It is a business strategy for survival.


Steve Parish

Philip Morris, Altria Group



I believe that for this industry to survive, that it needs to meet or exceed society's expectations of it as an industry. I think the Federal government ought to have the ability to require manufacturers to change the way they make their products, so that they can potentially reduce the very significant harm that's caused by smoking in this country.
Peter Jennings

Just before we close the tobacco file this time, a reminder of what the tobacco companies are up against in their search for a safer cigarette, and what government knows about the cigarettes they have failed to regulate so far, and what smokers are always up against every time they light up.

Graphics: 5000 Chemicals


Graphics: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Ddt, Arsenic, Nickel, Cobalt, Lead, Ammonica, Methane, Cadmium
Peter Jennings

Those 5,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, formaldehyde, benzene, DDT, arsenic, nickel, cobalt, lead, ammonia, methane, cadmium. As of now, without regulation, no one but the tobacco industry has any control over what the smoker inhales. I'm Peter Jennings, reporting from the tobacco file. Good night.




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