The Parrot and the Igloo Notes


236   “It’s the smoking analogy I use”: Steve Chu, “Steven Chu Presents ‘Energy and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities,’” Stanford University Business School, June 4, 2014. Chu is our longest-serving Secretary of Energy‬‬‬.

Accessed 6-21-22.


237   A Counterblaste to Tobacco: Published anonymously, though apparently everyone knew. On the Globe Theatre schedule, 1604 is the year of Othello and Measure for Measure. (1603 was first publication of Hamlet.) And 1616 is both Shakespeare’s death and the year James acknowledged authorship of the Counterblaste.

(I double-checked the year-of-authorship stuff in András Kiséry, Hamlet’s Moment: Drama and Political Knowledge in Early Modern England, Oxford University Press, 2016, 258.)


237   “to live in a perpetual stinking torment”: The spousal issue, which we also saw in quotation marks from tobacco executives right at the beginning of the crisis and even deep into the nineties. (1998: “Nobody knows what you’d turn to if you didn’t smoke. Maybe you’d beat your wife,” Philip Morris’ CEO growled to the Times. “Who knows what the hell you’d do?”) The pamphleteer John Deacon, in 1616’s Tobacco Tortured, also includes a spouse sequence: “Imagine thou beholdest here a fume sucker’s wife most fearfully fuming forth very fountains of blood, howling for anguish of heart, weeping, wailing and wringing her hands together with grisly looks and wide staring eyes, with mind amazed, with thoughts perplexed, with body shivering and shaking in every joint.” Say what you will, at least it’s not Where the Crawdads Sing.


237   “Oh then some other disease”: The money issue also bothered James. He had a great phrase: this “precious stink.” Anyone who’s ever run to the convenience store for a pack of American Spirits will relate. “Let the Gentry of this land bear witness, some of them bestowing three, some four hundred pounds a year upon this precious stink, which I am sure might be bestowed upon many far better uses.”


237   The Non-Smokers’ Protective League: The New York Times, “Anti-Smokers Incorporate: Dr. Wiley One of Directors,” August 3, 1911.


237      “say a man shall not smoke”: “Public Protection Against Smokers,” The Literary Digest, August 12, 1911. Wiley’s anti-smoking interview was reprinted around the country—the Salt Lake Tribune, the New York World.


237      “What has Santa Nixon given”: Robert B. Semple, Jr., “The President: One Man’s Gift Is Another Man’s Grouse,” December 26, 1971. “Nixon signed the anti-cancer bill last week.”


238      In 1972, the surgeon general’s first mention: The Cigarette Papers, Stanton Glantz et al; University of California Press, 1996. 22.


238      Arizona became the first: Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America, Basic Books, 2009, Chapter 11: “Your Cigarette Is Killing Me,” 288.


238      The Civil Aeronautics Board: A. L. Holm, R. M. Davis, “Clearing the airways: advocacy and regulation for smoke-free airlines,” Tobacco Control, March 2004. Polls showed 60% of air-travelers were ticked off about seatmates using the ashtrays.


238      the Roper polling organization: The Roper Organization, “A Study of Public Attitudes Toward Cigarette Smoking and the Tobacco Industry,” Prepared For the Tobacco Institute, May 1978, U.S. Exhibit 21,866. 5. “This we see as the most dangerous development to the viability of the tobacco industry that has yet occurred.” The middle part being a bit of a drag on your reading time.

The report starts with an “Implications” section. The Roper people conclude: “But we would repeat that since the anti-smoking forces have now gone a long way in convincing the non-smoker that his health, too, is at stake, the number one objective in our opinion is to develop authoritative and credible evidence with respect to the effects of passive smoking on the non-smoker’s health. The issue, as we see it, is no longer what the smoker does to himself, but what he does to others.”

The number one objective. The industry would take that advice so much to heart, and run so far with it, they may have forgotten where the advice was first heard.


238      on the front page: Lawrence K. Altman, “Cancer Study Reports Higher Risk for Wives of Smoking Husbands,” The New York Times, January 16, 1981.


238      in the modern language of The New York Times: The New York Times, “Smoking Your Wife to Death,” Editorial, January 21, 1981.


238      An EPA scientist: Linda Werfelman, “Study finds second-hand tobacco smoke kills hundreds,” United Press International, February 2, 1985.

“The report singled out second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes as the major cause of death due to cancer caused by airborne carcinogens.”


238      America’s number-one airborne carcinogen: Linda Werfelman, “Tobacco Smoke Has Become One of the Most Deadly . . . ” United Press International, February 5, 1985.

“‘We believe it’s 5,000. The lower bound is 500, and it’s certainly not less than 500,’ said James Repace, an analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of air and radiation.”


238      A Philip Morris vice chairman gathered: Hugh Cullman, Vice Chairman Philip Morris International, “Remarks on Tolerance: For Business/Media Dialogue with Black Newspaper Publishers,” November 15, 1985. Bates No. 1002353112-1002353127. I was so stunned by this I wrote in the margin Amazing—they will try any disreputable thing.

“That tide could wash away other freedoms. Legitimizing one form of discrimination lends legitimacy to other forms,” said the Vice Chairman to the newspeople. “So the real issue isn’t smoking versus nonsmoking—it’s discrimination versus toleration.”

The overall program was summarized in the Los Angeles Times, Myron Levin, May 22, 1988, “Women, Blacks Courted: Big Tobacco Buying New Friendships.”

The Tobacco Chronicles (Columbia University School of Social Work, 1995) puts the number at 93 publishers. Kluger in Ashes to Ashes points out that editors were in attendance as well. (Chapter 17: “Chow Lines,” 623.) The two-day conference’s attendance he gives as 200.


239      In 1986: Such a rough tobacco year, even Mr. Potato Head kicked the habit. Surgeon General Everett Koop asked manufacturers to remove the miniature pipe from the toy’s toolkit. Mr. P then began his tenure as spokescarb for the American Lung Society.


239      people who’d never even bought a pack: National Research Council, “Environmental tobacco smoke: Measuring exposure and assessing health effects,” National Academy Press, 1986.


239      “there will be no long run”: Roger L. Mozingo, To Samuel D. Chilcote, Jr., “State Activities’ ETS Plan of Action,” December 19, 1986. Bates No. TIDN0026049-TIDN0026055. Mozingo was the Tobacco Institute Vice President; Chilcote was Institute President.

Just what, back in 1978, the Roper people had predicted. The sense of impending doom was a bummer industry-wide. From Suein L. Hwang, The Wall Street Journal, “Tobacco Memos Detail Passive-Smoke Attack,” April 28, 1998. “Reynolds cannot ignore this issue and stay in the tobacco business,” lamented one Reynolds consultant in summer 1985.


239      “We are in deep shit”: Tobacco Institute, Meeting, “Project Down Under Conference Notes,” Tobacco Institute Inc., June 24, 1987. U.S. Exhibit 20,346.


239      “Nothing should be withheld”: Tobacco Institute, Meeting, “Project Down Under Conference Notes,” Tobacco Institute Inc., June 24, 1987. U.S. Exhibit 20,346.


240      “ETS will have a devastating effect”: Tobacco Institute, Meeting, “Project Down Under Conference Notes,” Tobacco Institute Inc., June 24, 1987. U.S. Exhibit 20,346.


240      George W. Bush invited the author: David Remnick, “Ozone Man,” The New Yorker, April 6, 2008.

“A book that the President did eventually read and endorse is a pulp science-fiction novel: ‘State of Fear,’ by Michael Crichton. Bush was so excited by the story, which pictures global warming as a hoax perpetrated by power-mad environmentalists, that he invited the author to the Oval Office. In ‘Rebel-in-Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush,’ Fred Barnes, the Fox News commentator, reveals that the President and Crichton “talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement.” The visit, Barnes adds, ‘was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more.’

“As President, Bush has made fantasy a guide to policy.”


240      “the anti’s silver bullet”: Tobacco Institute, “Project Down Under — Group Presentation To Senior Management,” Tobacco Institute Inc., June 27, 1987. Bates No. 2021502135-2021502142.


241      “on an international basis”: Sharon Boyce (Scientist, British-American Tobacco), “Notes On A Special Meeting Of The UK Industry On Environmental Tobacco Smoke, London,” February 17, 1988. Philip Morris Records; Bates Number: 2075562754-2758.

The offensive’s name was “Project White Coat”—that is, the recruitment of lab coat wearers. Scientists trained, remunerated, and willing to say what was necessary.

Gladys Kessler’s landmark ruling in “United States versus Philip Morris et al” is fascinating on the project. (US District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 99-2496, Amended Final Opinion by US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, August 17 2006.) It’s at 3602 (p. 1319) to 3626.

“After the June 1987 ‘Operation Downunder’”—that is, the In-Deep Shit conference—“Defendants expanded their consultancy program to train and deploy scientists worldwide.” By summer 1991, that same British-American tobacco scientist was reflecting on the “scope and success” of the project, its value “for media as well as for legal and scientific purposes. It is believed by the US industry that this wide availability of independent witnesses has been critical.” As Kessler summarizes, the aim was to buffalo, with people who looked, acted, and sounded like scientists—White Coats—every group that mattered. “Defendants’ intent was to influence ‘three audiences,’” Kessler writes. “‘The scientific community, regulatory authorities, and the general public.’” At 3609.

It built fast. See J. Drope, S. Chapman, “Tobacco Industry Efforts at Discrediting Scientific Knowledge of Environmental Tobacco Smoke: a Review of Internal Industry Documents,” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, August 2001. 55:588-594.


A 1989 US Tobacco Institute document described the rapid building of alliances with academics and consultants. (Bates No. TI01140124.) The importance of their credentials is evident:


Tobacco Institute now has 14 academic scientists on ETS; eight have been retained in the last three months. The academics are all faculty members of prestigious universities and medical schools. Their mission is to influence the scientific community’s view of ETS science.


The document also described 23 consultants “whose businesses are to market their scientific expertise.”


Think about that phrase, in context. To market their scientific expertise.


241      In 1988, all domestic flights: Glenn Kramon, “Smoking Ban Near On Flights In U.S.,” The New York Times, April 17, 1988. “The no-smoking light will stay on for good starting Saturday on about 80 percent of the airline flights within the United States. The ban, involving virtually all trips scheduled for two hours or less, will affect more Americans than any other single smoking restriction.”


241      “ETS Science Action Plan”: “ETS: Science Action Plan,” Philip Morris Records: Master Settlement Agreement, 1989. Bates Number: 2021159478-2021159480.


241      We need to challenge”: Think of Karen Miller’s brilliant gloss from The Voice of Business, 135. “The Tobacco Institute Research Committee’s mere existence helped to promote the idea that the medical evidence was not yet convincing.”


241      “We cannot say”: Robert Reinhold, “Aloft Without Nicotine: Can Smokers Cope?”, The New York Times, February 26, 1990.


241      “I’m lighting one up”: Environmental Protection Agency, “Respiratory Health Effects Of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer And Other Disorders,” Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The report was released January 7, 1993.


242      Silver bullet: Wonderfully, a key citation—those industry lawyers were right, Seitz had executed a giant face-plant—was the Surgeon General fact check that poor Frederick Seitz had intended as a gift. Here it is—Philip Morris’ and Reynolds Tobacco’s money, Frederick Seitz’s time, used to make the anti-smoking case.

Really, at whatever hour you are reading this, what could be more delicious? From Section 2, Page 3, the 1993 EPA Report.


More recently, the Working Group on Passive Smoking, an independent international panel of scientists supported in part by RJR Reynolds Nabisco, reported the findings of its comprehensive “best-evidence synthesis” of over 2,900 articles on the health effects of passive smoking (Spitzer et al., 1990). The group concluded that “the weight of evidence is compatible with a positive association between residential exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (primarily from spousal smoking) and the risk of lung cancer.” It also found “strong evidence that children exposed in the home to environmental tobacco smoke have higher rates of hospitalization (50% to 100%) for severe respiratory illness” and that the “evidence strongly supports a relationship between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and asthma among children.” In addition, the working group reported that there is evidence for associations between home ETS exposure and many chronic and acute respiratory illnesses, as well as small decreases in physiologic measures of respiratory function, in both children and adults. Evidence demonstrating an increased prevalence of otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) in children exposed to ETS at home was also noted. With respect to in utero exposure, the group concluded that active maternal smoking is associated with reduced birthweight and with increased infant mortality.


242      “Our overriding objective”: Ellen Merlo, To William Campbell, February 17, 1993. Master Settlement Agreement. Bates No. 2070039928-2070039930.


242      “The credibility of EPA”: Victor Han, To Ellen Merlo, “Burston/ETS,” February 22, 1993. U.S. Exhibit 37,064, Bates No. 2023920035.

As Naomi Oreskes observes in Merchants of Doubt, 148. “Desperate times called for desperate measures, and the industry now appeared desperate indeed.”

The Parrot and the Igloo by David Lipsky