International Committee on Smoking Issues Working Party on Social Acceptability of Smoking 770727 - 770729

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{{#badges: Tobaccowiki}} International Committee on Smoking Issues Working Party on Social Acceptability of Smoking 770727 - 770729

This 69-page, confidential Philip Morris (PM) document resulted from a meeting held by R.J. Reynolds, Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco, Gallaher and Philip Morris in 1977 to discuss how the global tobacco industry could reverse the declining social acceptability of smoking. C. Dennis Durden, Vice President of R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc., in his introductory speech refers to the "health victory" public authorities had achieved in reducing smoking:

They [public health authorities] feel that their health victory is in hand...it is logical that the anti-smoking forces turn to social acceptability as a key issue. However, they could not make this turn if they did not feel that they had their "health victory." The "health victory" had to come first.

Durden alludes to the industry's efforts to reverse public health authorities' conclusions on smoking, stating that "the health issue is closed, until there has been sufficient additional medical research to reopen the Surgeon General's report." He further acknowledges that opinion surveys show "more and more of the American public tends to agree with the anti-smoking forces."

Subsequent charts in the document show the effects that public health efforts have had on cigarette sales over the years: A chart shows the negative impact that "Anti-smoking Publicity by Doctors, Scientists and Reader's Digest" had on cigarette sales between 1952 and 1954 (page -5042). Another chart shows a decrease in cigarette sales after the 1964 Surgeon General's report was released. A chart entitled "Actual vs. Potential U.S. Cigarette Consumption" shows the amount of cigarette sales the industry believed it had lost as a result of effective public health efforts.(Page -5049-- a gap of 90 billion cigarettes is described for 1976).

A list of tobacco industry opponents identifies the U.S. Government's National Clearinghouse for Smoking and Health antagonistically as "Chief Anti-Smoking propaganda arm of Government."

The tobacco companies' objectives were to undermine this public health progress by "Develop[ing] strategies to retard or reverse the trend [of declining social acceptability] where feasible or desired" and to "recommend counter-measures."

Toward the end of the paper, Durden says that the industry's only hope is to "counterattack" public health efforts. In the absence of such an attack, he says, "there is virtually no real chance for increasing the social acceptability of smoking":

More and more citizens and public leaders believe that smoking is a health hazard to non-smokers. As long as this belief grows without being subjected to effective challenge and counterattack, there is virtually no real chance for increasing the social acceptability of smoking. (at Page -5086)

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This document shows that cigarette makers from around the world actually worked to reverse the gains public health authorities had achieved in convincing people not to smoke.


Title INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON SMOKING ISSUES WORKING PARTY ON SOCIAL ACCEPTABILITY OF SMOKING 770727 - 770729
Org. Author ICOSI, the International Committee on Smoking Issues, Social Acceptability Working Party (SAWP)
Date 19770727/D
Bates 2025025021/5089
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 69
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tla81f00

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