Confirmed: Tobacco Companies Sell Addiction, Not Tobacco

This is the ugly truth about Tobacco companies: They sell addiction, not tobacco. Here’s the proof in their own words:

Sir Charles Ellis, Scientific Advisor to the Board British American Tobacco (BAT), 1962

…smoking is a habit of addiction …nicotine is … a very fine drug.”

Lawyers for BAT, Addison Yeaman for Brown and Williamson, 17 July 1963

Nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug.

BAT research in their Final Report on Project Hippo, 1963

The habitual use of tobacco is related primarily to psychological and social drives, reinforced and perpetuated by the pharmacological actions of nicotine on the central nervous system.

BAT scientists went on to say in the mid-late 1960’s

It may be useful, therefore, to look at the tobacco industry as if for a large part its business is the administration of nicotine (in the clinical sense).

Smoking is an addictive habit attributable to nicotine and the form of nicotine affects the rate of absorption by the smoker. (1967)

Philip Morris Vice President for Research & Development, “Why One Smokes”, 1969:

The primary motivation for smoking is to obtain the pharmacological effect of nicotine. In the past, we at R&D have said that we’re not in the cigarette business, we’re in the smoke business. It might be more pointed to observe that the cigarette is the vehicle of smoke, smoke is the vehicle of nicotine, and nicotine is the agent of a pleasurable body response.

R.R. Johnson comments on nicotine in a meeting held on 30 June 1971

Sir Charles [Ellis of BAT] started the meeting by saying that he had first brought out the concept that we are in a nicotine rather than tobacco industry.

William Dunn Jr. of Philip Morris Research Center, 1971:

The cigarette should be conceived not as a product but as a package. The product is nicotine … Think of the cigarette pack as a storage container for a day’s supply of nicotine … Think of a cigarette as a dispenser for a dose unit of nicotine. Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle of nicotine … Smoke is beyond question the most optimised vehicle of nicotine and the cigarette the most optimised dispenser of smoke.

Here is one of my favorites admissions. April 14, 1972 R.J. Reynolds Confidential Research Planning Memorandum on the Nature of the Tobacco Business and the Crucial Role of Nicotine Therein:

If, as proposed, nicotine is the sine qua non of smoking, and if we meekly accept the allegations of our critics and move toward reduction or elimination of nicotine in our products, then we shall eventually liquidate our business. If we intend to remain in business and our business is the manufacture and sale of dosage forms of nicotine, then at some point we must make a stand.

In 1979, BAT starts to look socially acceptable replacements for their addictive product. Key Areas for Production Innovation Over the Next 10 Years, 1979:

We are searching explicitly for a socially acceptable addictive product involving:

— a pattern of repeated consumption

— a product which is likely to involve repeated handling

— the essential constituent is most likely to be nicotine or a direct substitute for it

— the product must be non-ignitable (to eliminate inhalation of combustion products and passive smoking).

We also think that consideration should be given to the hypothesis that the high profits additionally associated with the tobacco industry are directly related to the fact that the customer is dependent upon the product.

Looked at another way, it does not follow that future alternative ‘Product X’ would sustain a profit level above most other product/business activities unless, like tobacco, it was associated with dependence.

That being the case, one must question the ethics and practical possibilities of society/medical opinion permitting the advent of the new habituation process

An internal memo by BAT scientists in 1980:

BAT should learn to look at itself as a drug company rather than as a tobacco company.

In 1988, the US Surgeon General, Kluger, officially declares that:

Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting”. The pharmacological and behavioural processes are “similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

And the Tobacco Institute responds the same year with:

Claims that cigarettes are addictive contradict common sense … An escalation of antismoking rhetoric … without medical or scientific foundation.

Please pause and notice how the tobacco industry has known for years about the dangerously addictive properties of their product, yet, they lie to the world in order to maintain their lucrative profits.

In 1994, US tobacco CEOs testify under oath before Congressional Health and Environment Subcommittee:

Thomas Sandefur, Chief Executive of Brown and Williamson says:

I do not believe that nicotine is addictive.

William Campbell from Philip Morris:

I believe nicotine is not addictive.

James Johnston from RJ Reynolds:

And I too believe that nicotine is not addictive.

The tobacco industry is so trite with corruption that they easily lie under oath to the American public and its elected leaders.

That same year [1994], Ross Johnson, ex-Chief Execuive for RJ Reynolds is asked by the Wall Street Journal whether nicotine is addictive:

Of course it’s addictive. That’s why you smoke the stuff

The rest of the industry stuck to the now decades old lie. Here is Martin Broughton, Chief Executive BAT in a 1996 article titled, BAT denied smoking claims by the Independent:

We have not concealed, we do not conceal and we will never conceal … we have no internal research which proves that smoking … is addictive.

In 1997, Liggett — maker of Chesterfield, L&M and other brands — broke ranks and became the first company to admit that “smoking causes cancer and heart disease, nicotine is addictive and the industry markets its products to underage youths.”

The biggest milestone in the fight against the corrupt tobacco industry came in 1998, State of Minnesota v. Philip Morris confirmed a 50-year conspiracy to defraud America about the hazards of smoking, to stifle development of safer cigarettes, and to target children as new customers. Learn more >>

Thanks for reading,


The Cigarette Papers is a 1996 non-fiction book by Stanton A. Glantz, John Slade, Lisa A. Bero, Peter Hanauer, Deborah E. Barnes, and C. Everett Koop, analyzing leaked documents that for the first time proved “tobacco companies had long known the grave dangers of smoking, and did nothing about it.” In May 1994, 4,000 pages of internal tobacco industry documents were sent to the office of Professor Stanton Glantz, a well-known anti-smoking activist, at the University of California, San Francisco. The documents provide an inside look at the internal activities of tobacco industry.

Tobacco Explained. The truth about the tobacco industry …in its own words

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: