Misperceptions of Reduced Risk
In the 1950s scientific evidence implicating cigarette smoking as a cause of cancer and other diseases began to mount. Internal business records from the companies show that their own scientists accepted this evidence by the late 1950s. However, rather than acknowledge the truth about smoking, cigarette makers chose to present a unified front denying that smoking was harmful to health. They shifted their marketing budgets to reassure the public that they could smoke without concern. New filtered and low tar cigarettes were introduced and quickly began to dominate the market, even though the companies knew that their repeated promise to remove anything harmful in smoke was unachievable.
1961 – Reduction of Carcinogens in Smoke
Philip Morris VP, Helmut Wakeham’s presentation to the Philip Morris Research and Development Committee.
Carcinogens are found in practically every class of compounds in smoke.
The best we can hope for Is to reduce a particularly bad class, i.e., the polynuclear – hydrocarbons, or phenols.
1968 – Safe Cigarette and Denial of Current Cigarette Dangers
“I am in no manner accepting the view (1) that present cigarettes are hazardous or (2) that the smoke of such cigarettes causes or contributes to the development of human lung cancer.”
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Research Director, Murray Senkus, responds to an invitation to join a National Cancer Institute “less hazardous cigarette” working group program by denying the hazards of current cigarettes.
1972 – “If Our Product is Harmful We’ll Stop Making It
Vice President of Philip Morris
New filtered and low tar cigarettes were introduced and quickly began to dominate the market, even though the companies knew that their repeated promise to remove anything harmful in smoke was unachievable.