The Cigarette Century demonstrates—in striking detail—how the cigarette reflects the most powerful cultural and political debates of our time about risk, responsibility, and human health. Brandt shows how one ephemeral (and largely useless) product came to play such a dominant role in so many aspects of our lives—and deaths.

  • Although smoking has declined significantly in the U.S. and other western nations, more people around the globe smoke cigarettes than ever before.  As a result, the coming century is poised for an unprecedented pandemic of tobacco-related disease.

  • The World Health Organization now predicts 1 billion deaths over the next hundred years; ten times as many as died in the 20th century.

  • The industry is currently working diligently to relegitmate itself as a “responsible corporate citizen.”  This claim, as Brandt shows, flies in the face of a 50 year conspiracy to deceive and defraud the American people about the known lethal harms of their product.

  • As a result of litigation against the tobacco industry, some 40 million pages of confidential and secret internal documents have become available.  Brandt mined these materials in writing The Cigarette Century.  This massive archive offers an unprecedented view into the internal workings of a major industry.

  • Big Tobacco invented the techniques of scientific disinformation in its campaign to deny the harms of smoking.  According to one of the previously secret documents cited by Brandt, the industry acknowledged that “doubt is our product.”

  • At the same time, the tobacco industry pioneered in the development of special interest lobbying and corporate spin, assuring that regulatory statutes would be defeated, or even better, serve their own interests.  There has not been a piece of major Congressional tobacco control legislation enacted since 1984, when the four rotating “warning” labels—now widely considered ineffectual—were mandated.

  • On the basis of research presented in The Cigarette Century, Brandt served as an expert witness in U.S. v Philip Morris, the major civil litigation brought by the Department of Justice against the tobacco industry.  A federal district court recently ruled that the companies violated RICO statutes (for fraud and racketeering) in a five decade conspiracy.  The decision was substantially based upon Brandt’s research.


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