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Play It Again is a section of the journal where we republish quotes, gaffes, and immortal lines from friends and foes of tobacco control. It is compiled by Gene Borio, the webmaster of Tobacco BBS, which is the premier tobacco newsgathering site on the internet. Send contributions (including an original version or photocopy of the sourced item) to him at Tobacco BBS, PO Box 359, Village Station, New York 10014-0359; fax 001 212 260 6825. Send quotes from online stories (including the full article) or scanned documents (in GIF or JPEG format), to gborio{at}


Everybody has always known the full risks of smoking, industry apologists and lawyers claim. Well, don't tell these modern day Einsteins, Sherlocks, and DaVincis.

“No lung surgeon will tell you it [lung cancer] is caused by tobacco, although you are two to three times more likely to get lung cancer if you smoke.”

“No doctor will tell me tobacco has caused the problems I have. . . The experts won't confirm that. Maybe it's the stress.”

Australian Finance Minister and lung cancer victim John Fahey. Sources: Farr, M. Fahey to wait until poll to quit “Daily Telegraph/Sunday Telegraph” 2001 May 16. Calling it a day. “Sydney Morning Herald” 2001 May 16.

“It is possible to be a relatively safe smoker . . . You have to weigh it up and find a balance between what is dangerous and what your need for relaxation is. I don't see that a few cigarettes a day will harm you. It is better than being stressed.”

Dr Bruno Timmerman, of Fredericksberg Hospital, Copenhagen. Source: Finch, S. Smokers paradise? “Times of London” 2001 January 16.

“Does cigarette smoking cause lung cancer? Well, I don't think anyone knows . . .there are a lot of statistics which can be interpreted that way. But—speaking as a scientist—there are just too many questions without answers.”

Simon University Professor Dr Theoror Sterling, in a 1982 draft RJR script, Film on Smoking and Lung Cancer. Source: Matas, R. Honorary degree raises flap at SFU. “Globe and Mail” 2001 April 27.

“I think some of the medical campaigners gild the lily. The figures they cite are based on a curious definition of causation.”

Former UK Secretary of State for Health Kenneth Clarke, currently a BAT employee and candidate for Conservative Party leadership. Source: Brandreth, G. Ken, the cavalier. “Electronic Telegraph” 2001 July 1.

“I repeat, there is no such thing as “tar” in the human lung—the lung cannot be, and is not, blackened by it. The President of the American Thoracic Society has testified and I quote ‘I know of no way to distinguish the lungs of a smoker from those of a non-smoker’, unquote. So you smokers in the room can take heart: your lungs are as pink and pretty as those of the non-smoker sitting next to you.”

PM's Geoffrey Bible in a speech (“Freedom to advertise”) to a group of journalists in Melbourne in 1983

“[I] gave up smoking on the quack's advice a few months ago . . .It proved wrong.”

Philip Morris CEO Geoffrey Bible, to the Sydney Morning Herald, which point out Bible has not gone back to smoking. Source: Hale, B. Big Mo's snack attack cuts tobacco drag. “Sydney Morning Herald” 2000, June 28.

“Since smoking might injure your health, let's be careful not to smoke too much.”

Japan's cigarette warning label. Source: Strom, S. Can Koizumi untangle Japan and tobacco? “New York Times” 2001 June 13.

“[W]e believe that the extent to which smoking is harmful should be further researched and we oppose those unscientific, lop-sided, conclusive or even exaggerative anti-smoking sayings or doings . . .It's still not clear whether the relationship between smoking and some diseases are inevitable or occasional. The air that people breathe in, different food, the living habits and the physical conditions in different social environments are all factors that can affect health and should be analyzed from different sides . . .[T]obacco and hygiene industries should have more talk, exchange and cooperation. Our world needs communication instead of conflict, we should bear different opinions and listen to different voices to solve problems and make society develop.”

Ruizeng Zhou, Director of Foreign Affairs of CNTC. Source: Zhou, R. Some basic views on the issue of ‘Smoking and Health’. “Tobacco China” 2001 June 13.

“All the great leaders of the 20th century were smokers—Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Mao and Deng. Only when Chairman Mao Zedong gave up in his last years did he develop Parkinson's disease, making his hands shake and his speech slur . . .In these big cases in the United States, they stress only the negative effect of tobacco. They would never win such cases in China. The evidence does not stand up. There are many causes of lung cancer.”

Miao Xiaoyang, assistant to the president of China's biggest tobacco company, Hong Ta Shan (Hill of the Red Pagoda). Source: O'Neill, M. Puffing for fun and profit. “South China Morning Post” 2001 January 29.

“I smoke as much as possible without damaging my health because tobacco taxes are an important source of revenue.”

Former Japanese prime minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto. Source: The land of the rising smoke. “Chicago Tribune” 2001 June 19.

“The 1964 Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the US Public Health Service is one of the most insidiously harmful documents ever foisted upon a gullible public.”

Source: Oakley, D. Slow burn: The great American antismoking scam (and why it will fail). “Eyrie Publisher” March 1999.

“In this book, I will show that the case against smoking is based on bogus statistics and downright lies. I will show that the case for a link between smoking and disease has not been proven and that, indeed, the international statistics suggest that there's no link at all.”

Source: Colby, L. In defence of smokers. 1996. URL: Accessed June 17, 2001.

“At the moment, all we can say for sure is that the cause of cancer is not known and that there is absolutely no proof that smoking causes human cancer.”

Stanley Frank, in his widely distributed and heavily advertised 1968 True Magazine article. A shorter version was also printed in the National Enquirer titled, “Cigarette cancer link is bunk/70,000,000 smokers falsely alarmed”, under the pseudonym “Charles Golden”. Source: Frank S. To smoke or not to smoke—that is still the question. “True” 1968 January.

“This book is for Rose Tinker Mallan, my lovely non-smoking wife, who worries with renewed emphasis every time she reads another scare headline in the newspapers “linking” cigarette smoking with disease.”

Source: Mallan, L. It issafe to smoke. “Hawthorn Books, Inc.” 1966.

Societal alignment

Societal alignment is a recently disclosed Philip Morris corporate goal. CEO Geoffrey Bible explains:

“We want all of our businesses to meet society's expectations of them as responsible manufacturers and marketers of all their products, especially those that carry significant health risks.”

Source: Geoffrey C Bible, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Philip Morris Companies Inc, addresses Council of Institutional Investors Spring Meeting in Washington DC. “Philip Morris” 2001 March 27.

“What we found was that we really were not in line with what society expected of a responsible company.”

David M Sylvia, director of global public opinion and trend research for Philip Morris Management Corp. Source: Davis, M. Philip Morris PR exec admits he has a hard sale. “Virginian-Pilot” 2001 March 21.

Tim Sebastian: “Can I just read you a statement? If we don't do something fast to project the sense of industry responsibility regarding the youth access issue, we're going to be looking at severe marketing restrictions in a very short time. Those restrictions will pave the way for equally severe legislation or regulation where adults are allowed to smoke. Now that was from Philip Morris senior vice-president Ellen Merlo in 1995.”

David Davies: “That is not the position of our company today.”

Tim Sebastian: “Is she fired, then? Has she been fired, if it's not the position?”

David Davies: “We believe she is still working for the company.”

Tim Sebastian: “She still works there?”

David Davies: “I don't know that document. Let me . . .”

Source: BBC interview with Philip Morris International vice president David Davies “ASH London” 2001 March 29.

“Let's get this straight—in principle we oppose child labour.”

JL Tiedemanns Tobaksfabrik information chief Jan Robert Kvam, on African tobacco plantations where child labour is used. Source: Children produce Tiedemanns tobacco. “Aftenposten” 2001 March 20.