Letter from Professor Jack E Hennifield
to the Clerk of the Committee (TB 30)
I am a scientist and health consultant who has
been involved in tobacco and health issues for more than 20 years.
I have contributed to numerous reports of the US Surgeon General
and National Cancer Institute, as well as various non US and international
reports (including UK's 1998 White Paper, "Smoking Kills")
concerning tobacco and health. I was part of former US Food and
Drug Administration Commissioner, David Kessler's team which developed
the FDA Tobacco Rule (1996). I also participated in the US Federal
Trade Commission's inquiry concerning cigarette testing, and am
currently working with the US Department of Justice on their allegation
that the tobacco industry has perpetuated fraud upon the US public
with false claims and concealment of truth about tobacco products.
I provide this brief background by way of informing you that I
have spent considerable time and effort examining tobacco product
development, marketing, scientific issues, and public health impact,
as well as implications for regulation of the products. I would
like to offer a few brief observations concerning your regulatory
evaluations. I also enclose a few scientific papers for your consideration.
I will be pleased to provide any additional information if it
would be of use in your deliberations.
My first conclusion is that there is now overwhelming
evidence that the major tobacco companies (ie, British American
Tobacco Co and Philip Morris Inc) have been making false claims
about the tar and nicotine deliveries to consumers and that these
claims were willful attempts to deceive people in effort, in their
own words, to "keep smokers in the franchise" and "delay
the quitting process". Furthermore the efforts included cigarette
design techniques intended to cheat the ISO and FTC cigarette
testing methods, and that the companies had no evidence that the
cigarettes with claims to be lower in tar and nicotine offered
the health benefits implied in their advertising or trademarked
brand names. Indeed the tobacco companies' own data indicated
that so-called "light" cigarettes may have served to
increase the health risk to consumers. It is clear that from the
perspective of the tobacco companies, advertising about cigarette
tar and nicotine yields and trademarked product names that include
"light" and various allusions to healthiness and purity
of their products constitute claims intended to reduce the concerns
of consumers about smoking.
It is also clear to me that cigarettes are more
deadly than they need be based upon currently available technologies,
yet the "free" market is not working to provide consumers
with such innovations. The market clearly needs standards to be
set for the reduction of toxins. However, such standards should
not permit the tobacco companies to then use advertising and marketing
techniques which would further undermine efforts to reduce smoking
(eg, by dissemination of messages such as "meets government
approved reductions in tar and are less hazardous"). These
issues are discussed in the enclosed articles by myself, Dr John
Slade, and others from the Food and Drug Law Journal (1998).
There is an ample base of data, tobacco industry
documents, and regulatory activity by various governmental agencies
to support sweeping regulatory efforts in the UK that could substantially
contribute to the health of current and future generations. I
urge that you take advantage of this assistance in your deliberations.
12 October 1999