16A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday. January 29, 1998 NATION0IW ORL
Doctor: industry had extensive knowledge o nicotine.
Los Angeles Times
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The director of the Mayo Clinic's
Nicotine Dependence Center testified yesterday that he was
shocked to learn from internal corporate documents how
much the tobacco industry knew about nicotine addiction and
how to manipulate nicotine.
Despite being a recognized expert in the field, Dr. Richard
Hurt - the opening witness in a landmark lawsuit against the
industry - said his review of company documents enhanced
his knowledge on nicotine
and addiction "in ways that
are hard to describe. I had "'I had not e
not even dreamed there had A
been this much work done terehad be
over the years,' particularly
on "nicotine manipulation," work done 0V4
and the chemical makeup of
Hurt, who has written Director of Mayo Clinic]
many scholarly articles on
nicotine addiction and relat-
ed subjects, said the degree of knowledge reflected in those
documents vastly exceeded what was in the public domain.
Many were written at a time when the industry was denyin,
that nicotine was addictive - a stance that many industry
executives still maintain in public.
Some of the internal company documents showed Philip
Morris and RJR scientists describing nicotine as a drug in pri-
vate in the early 1970s, while they were denying it in public.
Hurt reviewed thousands of internal documents while
preparing to be an expert for the state of Minnesota in its
massive $1.7 billion suit against the cigarette companies.
Despite the disclosure of thousands of pages of incriminat-
ing industry paperwork in recent years, the Minnesota case is
expected to raise the ante significantly. That process began
yesterday with disclosure of several previously unseen docu-
For example, an undated memo from Colin Greig, a British
American Tobacco Co. scientist, described the cigarette as a
drug administration system for public use" with "'very signif-
icant advantages," in particular the fact that it delivers nico-
tine to the brain within 10 seconds.
Hurt testified that rapid defivery of a drug to the brain
increases the likelihood of addiction, in part because it deliv-
ers pleasure more rapidly.
Additionally, two early 1 99(h documents from British
American Tobacco showed the company taking an intense
interest in the development
of rnicotine patches and
Sdramed expressing concern about
whether the patch would
hurt the company's busi-
nes . But a company seen-
r the yelars/tist stated in ,)e of the
memos though that the
-- Dr. Richard Hurt patch would be relatively
cotine Dependence Center ineffective because it does-
n't get nicotine to the brain
nearly as fast as a cigarette
does, and thus doesn't have the same pleasurable effect.
A 1969 memo by Philip Morris psychologist William
Dunn, Jr. warns the Philip' Morris research director about
company personnel describing "cigarette smoke as a drug. It
is, of course, but there are dangerous Food and Drug
Administration implications to having such conceptualiza-
tions go beyond these walls."
The first witness in what is expected to be a four-month-
long trial, Hurt also gave the federal jury of six men and six
women a primer on the development of the U.S. cigarette
industry in the United States. He said that although tobacco
has been around for hundreds of years, "cigarettes are a mod-
Hurt, who was born in Kentucky. a tobacco state, said cig-
arette production in this country was transformed after the
Civil War with the creation of a rollingi machine. He said that
paved the way for lower prices, mass production and the
Richard Hurt, a Mayo Clinic doctor, leaves the courthouse in St. Paul after testifying in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against
the tobacco industry. A
development of a nationwide market where hundreds of bil-
lions of cigarettes a year are now sold in the United States.
Hurt then recounted the growth of lung cancer, which he
said had been virtually nonexistent in this country before
1)0. Now. he said. lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer
death among men and women in the country, accounting for
120,000 deaths per year.
He calculated that the 420,000 deaths per year attributable
to cigarette smoking are "the equivalent of three fUilyt loaded
747s crashing every day of the year, with no survivors.
Hurt, a well-known anti-smoking activist, is expected to
be on the witness stand for up to four days.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -A tobac-
co lawyer on Tuesday lauded an
industry-sponsored research group
for its decades of valuable research
on smoking and health, denying it is
a public relations tool for cigarette
Brown & Williamson attorne David
Berniek defended the work of the
Council for tobacco Research against a
Minnesota lawsuit that seeks to iecox
state money spent on treating simokinT-
As opening statements in the case
stretched into a second day, Bernick
said jurors would learn of a 1961 coun-
cil-funded study that found a signifi-
cant relationship between a form of
lung cancer and smoking.
Another council-funded study linked
smoking and low birth weight and a
third linked smoking and early-onB
heart disease. Moreover, a landmar
1964 surgeon general's report on smok-
ing cited CTR-funded research 500
times, he said.
"If it was so irrelevant, if it was so
poor, why did the surgeon general see
fit to give it citation after citation?
One line of defense for the tobacco
industry is that smokers knew the risk
of tobacco, so companies cannot K2
held liable for illnesses. Another is d
the state spends no more on smokers
than for nonsmokers.
The state and Blue Gross and Blue
Shield of Minnesota estimate the cost
of treating smoking-related illnesses at
S .77 billion. 'hey also said tobacco
companies fraudulently suppressed
information on the dangers of smoking
and publicly denied that tobacco is a
But Bernick said the opposite is tri
"The evidence will show that the
marketplace was awash with this infor-
mation," Bernick said.
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