Journal Article

Forty years on: a war to recognise and win: How the tobacco industry has survived the revelations on smoking and health

David Pollock

in British Medical Bulletin

Volume 52, issue 1, pages 174-182
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 0007-1420
Published online January 1996 | e-ISSN: 1471-8391 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bmb.a011524
Forty years on: a war to recognise and win: How the tobacco industry has survived the revelations on smoking and health

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Nothing has significantly checked the growth of the tobacco industry since the introduction of smoking to Europe, and the industry has easily survived the 40 years since the first authoritative revelations about the health effects of smoking. Some explanations are offered and the tactics of the industry and the response of the UK Government are reviewed. The policies of British-American Tobacco and its subsidiaries, especially Brown and Williamson in the USA, are considered in detail, including the rejection of an early proposal for a pragmatic but honest deal. In particular, an internal document from 1970 is examined in which BAT purports to set policy for the whole industry. The document is revealed as showing far-sighted but cynical calculation, for instance, in limiting concessions to those countries where public and vbgovernment awareness requires them. Examples of BAT activities are quoted to illustrate key points.

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Subjects: Medicine and Health

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