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The manipulation of history has been a key strategy in the tobacco industry's long campaign to promote its products in the marketplace and to defend itself in civil litigation. I first wrote about the tobacco industry's use of professional historians as expert witnesses in US courts in this journal in 2006.1 In that study, I explored how historians retained by the industry's legal defence testified that the public had long known that cigarettes caused addiction and deadly disease. To support this misleading testimony, industry historians developed idiosyncratic, indeed absurd, concepts of ‘common knowledge’ and ‘public awareness’ to claim that the prevalence of antitobacco news coverage indicated public understanding that …
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