Not many people can hold on to the truth no matter the consequences. In our times, the truth is flexible; it sways with the direction and intensity of the wind. Fighting for the truth takes a special breed of people. Such is the exceptional case of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand.
Because he stuck with the truth, like a castaway clings desperately to a floating log, he lost his job, he lost his wife, he lost his children, he lost his house and almost lost his mind. But still he clung to the truth. That was his nature.
Who is this man? Jeffrey Wigand is the highest-ranking executive ever to reveal what goes behind the scenes at the highest levels of a tobacco company. He reveled inside facts about the addictive properties of nicotine, and the alleged attempts of B&W to camouflage such information.
His scientific and management background is impressive. Let’s take a look:
- Director of Corporate Development at Pfizer.
- General Manager and Marketing Director at Union Carbide in Japan. He is fluent in Japanese.
- Senior Vice-President of Marketing at Technicon Instruments.
- Director of Marketing at Johnson & Johnson.
- Vice President of Research and Development at Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation.
Dr. Wigand stepped into the limelight on February 4, 1996 when on the CBS news program 60 Minutes, hosted by Mike Wallace, he stated Brown & Williamson intentionally manipulated the tobacco blend to increase the amount of nicotine in cigarette smoke, thereby increasing the “impact” to the smoker.
He said he was shocked when he saw on television that the CEOs of seven major tobacco companies, also known as the Seven Dwarfs, affirmed under oath at a Congressional Committee that they believed nicotine was not addictive. According to Wigand, they purposely and knowingly committed perjury.
Jeffrey Wigand told Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes—a CBS TV magazine news show— in a historic interview, that the tobacco industry is in the nicotine delivery business and that a cigarette is a delivery device for nicotine. Nicotine has a pharmacological effect that crosses the blood-brain barrier intact. “Put a cigarette in your mouth, light it up and it’s going to get you fixed.”
As nicotine enters the body, it is distributed quickly through the bloodstream and can cross the blood-brain barrier. On average it takes about seven seconds for the substance to reach the brain when inhaled.
The Big Tobacco companies are deeply engaged in enhancing the effects of nicotine through the use of other chemical elements such as ammonia. The tobacco industry uses this technology known as “Ammonia Chemistry.” In general terms, the process to manipulate nicotine is known as “impact boosting.” Impact boosting allows for the nicotine to be more rapidly absorbed by the lungs; and therefore, affect the brain and central nervous system.
According to the American Heart Association, the “nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break.” The pharmacological and behavioral characteristics that cause tobacco addiction are similar to those that influence addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine content in cigarettes has actually slowly increased over the years, and one study found that there was an average increase of 1.6 percent per year between the years of 1998 and 2005. This was found for all major market categories of cigarettes.
There is also a chemical compound additive called coumarin, widely used in the manufacturing of pipe tobacco, (e.g., Sir Walter Raleigh) that has been shown to have a carcinogenic property which caused tumors in rats and mice. The make-up of coumarin was close to that of a compound found in rat poison.
Coumarin was banned as an adulterant in cigarettes by tobacco companies in 1997, but due to the lack of reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is still being used as a flavoring additive in pipe tobacco.
The Big Tobacco companies are after the young population. That’s their core target market. If you don’t get them before they’re 18 or 20, you never get them. On the average, children begin to smoke at 14. This is a red flag for parents having adolescent children. A study found that nicotine exposure in adolescent mice retards the growth of the dopamine system, thus increasing the risk of substance abuse during adolescence.
If you’re a smoker, and besides that have adolescent children, please be careful with developing the habit of smoking. It could kill you and your children if they follow your steps.
Each year, about 425,000 Americans die of smoke-related illnesses. Through tax money that goes to Medicaid, the general population pays for a significant portion of the billions of dollars of health costs.
I would like to point out that, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, was once owned by British American Tobacco, and, since 2004, by Reynolds American Inc., a joint venture between the U.S. branch of British American Tobacco and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Reynolds American Inc. is the current manufacturer of Kool, Viceroy and Capri cigarettes. It also manufactures pipe tobacco like Sir Walter Raleigh.
After the Brown & Williamson merger, the Viceroy cigarette has been played down, continuing to be sold on the markets where demand is strong, like Romania, the Middle East, Turkey, Argentina and Chile.
Kool and Viceroy cigarettes are both sold in Panama. Yesterday I purchased a box of Kool for this post. I wanted to know how much it costs and how it looked like. The price for a box of Kool at El Rey Supermarket is $2.24 including ITBMS (sales tax). At this price just about anybody can buy one.
Kool is very popular within the young smoking population in Panama, specially college students and call centers employees. They say, “It’s cool to smoke Kool.”
This is how a box of Kool looks like in Panama. By the way, it’s manufactured in Honduras by THASA (Tabacalera Hondureña, S.A.). Here we go.
In 1996, a published study provided clear molecular evidence conclusively linking components in tobacco smoke to lung cancer. Benzopyrene, found in tobacco smoke, caused genetic damage in lung cells that was identical to the damage observed in the DNA of most malignant lung tumors.
Subsequent to the 60 Minutes story on nicotine’s manipulation by the tobacco industry, in 1998 they settled the lawsuits filed against it by Missipppi and 40 other states for $368 billion. However, Big Tobacco is still doing business as usual following the path of corporate greed.
In 1996, Dr. Wigland was awarded the “Sallie Mae First Class Teacher of the Year” in Kentucky. He currently lives in South Carolina. He spends his time and efforts on lectures around the world, as an expert witness and consultant on various tobacco issues, and on his non-profit organization, Smoke-Free Kids, Inc. where he concentrates his energy on helping kids of all ages make better decisions and healthy choices on tobacco use. He was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 1999 film The Insider directed by Michael Mann.
Before I close this post let me ask you if you smoke? If you do, please seriously consider the possibility of cutting the habit. It’s not worth going up in smoke. Smoking kills, that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Good Day.
Stream The Insider Movie – Russell Crowe, Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer