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Censorship of Adverse Facts on Tobacco

From http://medicolegal.tripod.com/kellogg1922.htm#composition


The Tobacco Taboo
Censorship of Adverse Facts on Tobacco


The tobacco hazard is not new. However, exposure of the hazard, citing it, saying to take action against it, is (as authors for a century have noted) generally viewed with disfavor. The tobacco hazard is a taboo subject: don't mention it! Tobacco pushers have sued people who have mentioned or detailed the tobacco hazard, targeting of children, or other tobacco facts! Yes, they have, as you'll see here.

So, let's be brave, dare the pushers! Let's fight the 'tobacco taboo.' Let's mention it. In detail! Let's start with the chemistry facts, and offer links to related sites. Many links! Many related sites! Let's burst the 'tobacco taboo.' Indeed, "as much publicity as possible should be given to the results of careful observation and scientific study"—a quote from a 1915 exposé.

Tobacco is filled with toxic chemicals. Our ancestors, contrary to myth, were educated people, better educated on basic science fact than millions nowadays. They, by 1836, yes, 1836, knew what tobacco poison was, and what it could do--something most people now have no idea of!! They knew by 1836

"that thousands and tens of thousands die of diseases of the lungs generally brought on by tobacco smoking. . . . How is it possible to be otherwise? Tobacco is a poison. A man will die of an infusion of tobacco as of a shot through the head." —Samuel Green, New England Almanack and Farmer's Friend (1836).

Americans took heed. Result: Declining U.S. tobacco use, reported by Dr. J. B. Neil, 1 The Lancet (#1740) p 23 (3 Jan 1857). Prior to mass media advertising, non-smoking was "common" in the U.S., says Prof. John Hinds, The Use of Tobacco (Nashville, Tenn: Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House, 1882), p. 10.

Naturally the tobacco lobby did not like this. The tobacco lobby did not want the fact ("Tobacco is a poison") widely known. It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but as a result of the tobacco lobby desire to censor such facts, there is near total censorship of tobacco news. Ask yourself, how much information have you seen or heard in the media (print and broadcast) on these tobacco subjects?


Have you learned from the media about the medical evidence on

No, of course not.


The print and broadcast media's wide-spread censorship of tobacco-facts, to the extreme of printing of gross disinformation on cigarette effects and correlatives including but not limited to crime, has been cited since at least 1913, see

·         Cora F. Stoddard, "The Publishers and Tobacco," 22 Sci Temp Journal 93-94 (1913);

·         Charles M. Fillmore, The Tobacco Taboo (Indianapolis: Meigs Pub Co, 1930), pp 88-89;

·         Frank L. Wood, M.D., What You Should Know About Tobacco (Wichita, KS: The Wichita Publishing Co, 1944), pp 32-33;

·         George Seldes, InFact Tobacco Exposés 1940-1950 and, e.g., Never Tire of Protesting, (New York: Lyle Stuart Inc, 1968), Chapters 7-10, pp 61-99. (Seldes also founded www.infact.org).

Concern about the media is not new. The danger from unethical and disinformational media writings on tobacco issues was being cited long ago. See, e.g.,

·         Rev. Beriah Green, What Northen Men Can Do (1836), p 11 (in slavery context);

·         Rev. J. B. Wight, Tobacco: Its Use and Abuse (1889), p 218; and

·         Luther Burbank (1849-1926) (in a narrative on tobacco-caused deaths and related media disinformation). [See Example.]

Do you perceive how the media routinely repeat pusher and smoker mythology? repeat disinformation? have a relationship to smokers' views? For those, see Lennox Johnston, "Cure of Tobacco-Smoking," 263 The Lancet 480, 482 (6 Sep 1952), here, an excerpt of that article, and of his prior related article]. For full text of this, or any reference herein-cited, contact your local library.

"Most smokers do not view themselves at increased risk of heart disease or cancer." John P. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P., Paul J. Cleary, Ph.D., "Perceived Risks of Heart Disease and Cancer Among Cigarette Smokers," 281 J Am Med Ass'n (11) 1019-1021 (17 March 1999).

The public definitely does not realize what the U.S. Supreme Court said approaching four decades ago: "The first step toward addiction may be as innocent as a boy's puff on a cigarette in an alleyway," in Robinson v California, 370 US 660, 670; 82 S Ct 1417; 8 L Ed 2d 758 (1962).

"The majority of smokers don't know the facts about what's in cigarettes and how these ingredients may harm them. Most smokers also don't realize there are no health benefits to filtered and low-tar cigarettes, nor do they understand nicotine medications such as patches," says Amanda Gardner of HealthDay, in "Survey reveals smokers' ignorance" (Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, 13 Dec 2004), citing Dr. K. Michael Cummings, Chair, Dept of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y., and his survey in Nicotine & Tobacco Research (December 2004).

Data such as this is suppressed. In fact, "smokers never, even today, have sufficient information to make a decision about smoking," a quote from the 11 Jan 1999 testimony of Dr. Whelan.

Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H., President, American Council on Science and Health, is an expert who reports that, "Cigarette Makers Get Away With Murder," The Detroit News, p 4B [14 March 1993].) She has also written a number of books, including

·         Cigarettes: What the Warning Label Doesn't Tell You: The First Comprehensive Guide to the Health Consequences of Smoking (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1997) and

·         A Smoking Gun—How the Tobacco Industry Gets Away With Murder (Philadelphia: George F. Stickley, People's Health Library, 1984).

But in court in January 1999, the judge refused to allow her to even mention the name of her book! Now that's censorship!

          When rarely (as normally "the press has suppressed or withheld the facts concerning tobacco toxicity from the American people"), something is published, the material often goes unread as the tobacco taboo goes to the extreme of widespread refusal by the American public "even to read any book or article which refers to the harmfulness of tobacco . . . or in any other way exposes the evils of the drug," says Frank L. Wood, M.D., What You Should Know About Tobacco (Wichita, KS: The Wichita Publishing Co, 1944), pp 33 and 63.

          In the late 1930's, doctors ascertained significant data on smoking and heart disease.

"The works of Dr. [Raymond] Pearl and of Drs. English, Willus and Berkson at the Mayo Foundation have been epochal in their significance, showing that coronary disease of the heart is six times as prevalent among heavy smokers as among nonsmokers and that the mortality rate among heavy smokers between the ages of thirty and fifty is approximately twice as high as that of nonsmokers. Dr. Pearl's report and graph in reference to the comparative death rates of smokers and nonsmokers were published in Science magazine on March 4, 1938, and the report of the Mayo medical scientists was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on October 19, 1940," says Frank L. Wood, M.D., What You Should Know About Tobacco (Wichita, KS: The Wichita Publishing Co, 1944), p 33.

          Dr. Wood reported that with almost no exceptions the media suppressed, censored and refused to report this data. He deemed this refusal of reporting to be a "malicious dereliction of duty," and that the "natural and probable consequence" of this censorship would be millions of deaths, people "who will go on smoking indefinitely, oblivious of the danger to their health and their very lives to which are" being subjected. Dr. Wood correctly saw that "through the influence of money and the tobacco companies, the press has suppressed or withheld the facts concerning tobacco toxicity from the American people." Wood, supra, p 33.

The book by Larry C. White, Merchants of Death (New York: William Morrow Beech Tree Books, 1988), Chapter 6, "Advertising Addiction," pages 116-142, provides more information on this malicious pro-tobacco media censorship:

          "There is nothing new about the kid-gloves treatment meted out by the media to the cigarette industry and the story of smoking and disease," p 134. "The data . . . . show that magazines that accept cigarette ads are less likely than magazines that don't accept them to report on the hazards of smoking. A few editors have stated publicly that they don't want to offend their tobacco advertisers," White, supra, p 139.

          "Cigarette advertising exerts an irresistible influence on many editors. The story of smoking and health is grossly underreported [due to] self-censorship imposed by editors who are fearful of offending cigarette advertisers. The presence of cigarette advertising seems to exert a 'chilliing effect' on the free flow of information about smoking and health," White, supra, p 139.

          "Indeed, it can cost a lot of money to be outspoken. Newsweek's June 6, 1983, issue, which included a long article on the nonsmokers' rights movement, carried no cigarette ads. When the cigarette companies learned of plans for the story, they asked that their ads be removed. The magazine may have lost as much as $1 million in advertising for publishing that story," White, supra, p 139.

          "Cigarette money doesn't just inhibit editors from printing articles about smoking, it also creates a barrier to antismoking advertisements. Dr. Kenneth Warner wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine (February 7, 1985) [about] difficulties in placing ads for antismoking clinics," White, supra, pp 139-140.

          "Self-censorship and toadying to the cigarette companies extend beyond magazines . . . . Barry Ackerly, owner of a radio and four television stations and, even more important, of one of the largest billboard companies in the country, proved his loyalty to tobacco in 1986. He sent out a memo to all his operations telling them to reject public service announcments of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society . . . . " White, supra, p 141.

          The media resorts to outright lying, which by anybody else could be deemed criminal fraud. For example, in one article, "the author said that reduction in smoking . . . does not reduce the risk of heart disease, which, he said, is caused mainly by stress," p 135. "Stress" is a code-word used under tobacco lobby influence, i.e., it is a mythical cause! on the order of saying that the "flat earth" caused the person to fall off the edge!!

          One instance of false or misleading statements by the media was well-described thus by Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H., of the American Council on Science and Health,

"a classic case of disinformation. It is like representing yourself as an auto safety expert and writing a [paper] on 'how to reduce your risks of death and injury on the road' and purposely avoiding any reference to seatbelts and the risks of drunk driving, instead focusing in depth on the desirability of getting your windshield wipers changed frequently." See Larry C. White, Merchants of Death (New York: William Morrow Beech Tree Books, 1988), Chapter 6, "Advertising Addiction," p 141.

Note that "an expert [or journalist] who supplies nothing but a bottom line [a conclusion as journalists typically do] supplies nothing of value to the judicial process [truth]. . . . [you] would not accept from . . . students or those who submit papers to [a professional] journal an essay containing neither facts nor reasons; why should a court [the public] rely on the sort of exposition the scholar would not tolerate in his professional life?" asks the case of Mid-State Fertilizer Co v Exchange National Bank, 877 F2d 1333, 1339 (CA 7, 1989). Yet, maliciously, media types, journalists, "press-prostitutes," routinely disseminate only "conclusory" material, carefully omitting pertinent facts, for the purpose of presenting a distorted and skewed viewpoint.

The term "merchants of death" is accurate.

"Even more pernicious than the propaganda of the tobacco companies in favor of their products has been the power of these companies over the press and the news. The publishers and their editors know that if they publish anything that is suggestive of the great harmfulness of tobacco to health, the tobacco companies may cancel their valuable advertising contracts, and, consequently, news of the most vital importance to the public is sometimes withheld or suppressed." See Frank L. Wood, M.D., What You Should Know About Tobacco (Wichita, KS: The Wichita Publishing Co, 1944), p 32. "Examples of this malicious dereliction of duty . . . are not hard to find," p 33.

"You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
thank God! the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there's no occasion to."

  —Humbert Wolfe (1930)


Note the term “press prostitute” concerning such media types, by George Seldes, Witness to a Century (New York: Ballantine Books, 1987), pp. 331, 347, and 397. Note the phrase, “crooked and prostituted journalist,” p 347. Seldes also said of one such, that “he had sold himself . . . for money,” p 399. Sadly, the term “press prostitute” is a “now disused term,” says p 331. (An alternate term is "media-whore" or "presstitute.")

"In editorial offices everyone knew that the Hearst chain, the Scripps-Howard chain and   397the Chicago Tribune of that time were regarded as the worst in the country, "says Seldes, supra, pp 396-397.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, "Pittsburgh newspapers could be bribed with a two dollar-a-day advertisement—incidentally the same price streetwalkers and inmates of houses of prostitution charged," says Seldes, supra, p 418. In 1987, prices have gone up! One of the "sacred cows" is "the advertising of cigarettes—a matter of about two billion dollars a year, one of the greatest causes of death from cancer, emphysema, heart failure and other diseases, which could be ended by state laws or an act of Congress," p 418.

A Congressional investigation by the "La Follette Commission" found this example of how the media are corrupted: "the National Association of Manufacturers, once investigated and exposed for bribing members of the House and Senate to pass anti-labor and anti-union legislation, had changed its tactics and now sought to corrupt public opinion in the United States via the press: everything from comic strips to editorials was supplied free to newpapers, daily and weekly, and a majority of the small publications--some five thousand of them--accepted and published this progpoaganda," p 371. Seldes cited La Follette Commission documentation, "No. 6, Part 6. See especially pages 159, 162 and 163," p 371.

What one special interest, another can do!

See also

·  "The Fear Is In The Room: Inside Our Unbrave Media World," by Danny Schechter (8 April 2006)

·  "How The American Tobacco Industry Employs PR Scum To Continue Its Murderous Assault On Human Lives," by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, 22 - 29 November 1995. This article is an excerpt from their book, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Common Courage Press, 1995).




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