Statements by Brown and Williamson
Portions of chapters 1, 5, 7, 8, and 10 of this book appeared as articles in the July 19, 1995, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association .[1-5] In response to a request from JAMA for comment on the substance of our articles, Brown and Williamson issued the following statement:
June 8, 1995
BROWN AND WILLIAMSON TOBACCO CORP. STATEMENT TO JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
We believe there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with these documents. We refuse to be drawn into media hysteria over these stolen, attorney-client privileged documents. Despite this, it is obvious that B&W and other companies will continue to be "tried in the media" in advance of any proper forum to address these issues. Dr. Glantz has admitted cooperating with plaintiffs' attorneys and we seriously question his objectivity in addressing these issues.
It is important to remember that similar documents have been addressed in courts of law before—rather than in the news media—and juries did not buy these allegations.
Documents stolen by a person who is "out to get the company" should not be portrayed as presenting the whole story. Lifting single phrases or sentences from 30-year-old documents and using that information to distort and misrepresent B&W's position on a number of issues is clearly what is occurring.
B&W has done, and will continue to do, nothing to waive any privilege or confidentiality associated with these documents and we are taking every step necessary to preserve those rights.
We continue to believe that nicotine is not addictive because over 40 million Americans have quit smoking, 90 percent of them without any help at all. ...
On July 12, 1995, after release of the JAMA papers to the media, Brown and Williamson issued the following statement:
TO BUSINESS AND MEDICAL EDITORS:
BROWN & WILLIAMSON'S STATEMENT REGARDING AMA ARTICLE
LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 12/PRNewswire/—Brown & Williamson today issued the following statement regarding the American Medical Association's planned publication of tobacco-related JAMA articles on July 13:
The American Medical Association's planned publication of articles relating to Brown & Williamson's stolen documents is little more than a cherry-picking exercise designed to advance its stated mission to eliminate smoking.
The AMA admitted that despite its so-called scientific review, the documents addressed in the JAMA articles "could be subject to a form of selection bias." In addition, the release said that the "documents do not provide a complete picture." In fact, the AMA also stated its motive for publishing the articles. According to its own news release, "the AMA maintains an unequivocal stance against tobacco" and added later that its mission was to "force the removal of this scourge from our nation. ..." Clearly, the JAMA articles do not represent independent scientific review.
The bottom line is that the AMA's approach to selectively present company documents advances only one agenda—that of the anti-tobacco establishment, including the plaintiffs' bar, which is involved in extensive litigation against tobacco companies. Brown & Williamson would hope to achieve a fair hearing in the court of public opinion. However, based on continued one-sided presentation of the issues, the company will continue to rely on the legal system, where the facts are presented in an impartial manner and decided by impartial juries.
The subjects addressed in JAMA, including passive smoking, lawyer involvement and nicotine, represent a rehashing of allegations previously reported at length by the news media and discussed in testimony before Congress. In addition, similar allegations have been made in previous product liability litigation, and when the full facts are presented, juries consistently have found in favor of tobacco companies.
Among the issues addressed in the JAMA articles:
Passive smoking: The AMA claims company research concluded that socalled passive smoking "is harmful to health." In fact, the University of California at San Francisco documents do not even include environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) research studies. There is nothing in the reported documents which changes Brown & Williamson's view that ETS has not been established as harmful to health.
Lawyer involvement: Even the AMA admits to its readers that "lawyers by nature are asked to evaluate proposed courses of action in terms of their
legal risks." Since tobacco companies have been involved in product liability litigation for decades, it is even more "natural" that attorneys be involved in defending the company's position. Brown & Williamson's lawyers have conducted themselves appropriately.
Nicotine addiction: Scientists have yet to agree on a definition or precise set of circumstances that distinguishes a state of "addiction" from "habit" or "enjoyment." In that context, as B&W stated a year ago, when many of these same documents were attacked in Congress, none of these documents established that nicotine is addictive. The fact that 40 million people have quit smoking by themselves flies in the face of the "addiction label."
1. Glantz SA, Barnes DE, Bero L, Hanauer P, Slade J. Looking through a keyhole at the tobacco industry: The Brown and Williamson documents. JAMA 1995;274:219–224.
Slade J, Bero L, Hanauer P, Barnes DE, Glantz SA. Nicotine and addiction: The Brown and Williamson documents. JAMA 1995;274:225–233.
2. Slade J, Bero L, Hanauer P, Barnes DE, Glantz SA. Nicotine and addiction: The Brown and Williamson documents. JAMA 1995;274:225–233.
3. Hanauer P, Slade J, Barnes DE, Bero L, Glantz SA. Lawyer control of internal scientific research to avoid products liability lawsuits: The Brown and Williamson documents. JAMA 1995;274:234–240.
4. Bero L, Barnes DE, Hanauer P, Slade J, Glantz SA. Lawyer control of the tobacco industry's external research program: The Brown and Williamson documents. JAMA 1995;274:241–247.
5. Barnes DE, Hanauer P, Slade J, Bero LA, Glantz SA. Environmental tobacco smoke: The Brown and Williamson documents. JAMA 1995;274:248–253.
6. Graham T. The Brown and Williamson documents: The company's response. JAMA 1995;274:254–255.