The tricks that tobacco companies used to hide the risks of cigarettes are no secret.
Internal corporate documents disclosed during the litigation against cigarette companies show the way the industry worked to create uncertainty about tobacco’s cancer risks long after mainstream scientists had reached a consensus. “Doubt is our product,” a tobacco executive famously wrote in 1969.
A 2005 paper in Public Health Chronicles outlined a six-part strategy by the companies, including suppressing research that did not support their position and taking their case directly to the media. The companies knew that reporters might quote industry representatives in a false quest for balance that misled readers about the actual state of the science.
Millions of Americans died from smoking-related illnesses before legal and political pressure forced the industry to admit the truth. Now, we run the risk of