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Victor J. DeNoble

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Victor J. DeNoble, Ph.D. was employed by Philip Morris as the 'Senior Behavior Analyst' at the company's Behavioral Research Laboratory/Department between 1980-1984. He was initially hired as an Associate Senior Scientist at Philip Morris Behavioral Research.

With his associates, Mele and He performed in-house rat studies on nicotine and addiction and he was later fired by Philip Morris because of sensitive nature of what studies revealed about nicotine addiction. He openly disputed Philip Morris's versions as to the reasons why his laboratory was closed down, and eventually received Congress approval to break his confidentiality agreement with the company.

In 1994, after the U.S. Congress released him from a confidentiality agreement with Philip Morris, DeNoble became the first "whistleblower" to begin speaking out against the tobacco industry. He served as a key witness in the Federal government's case against the industry and has testifed before Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and former Vice President Al Gore's Tobacco Settlement Committee. He has been featured on several television shows such as "60 Minutes," "Dateline NBC" and Sunday Morning with David Brinkley.


DeNoble received his doctorate in 1976 in Experimental Psychology from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. He then was given postdoctoral fellowships with the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York and the National institute of Drug Abuse at the University of Minnesota.

Denoble also worked in the field of drug discovery for DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company and Ayerst Research Laboratories specializing in the area of Central Nervous System Diseases.

A later biography says that DeNoble was then the Vice President of Hissho, Inc., a scentific and medical communications company.


Victor J DeNoble worked under Robert B Seligman with:

  • William Anthony Farone ("Bill Farone") at Philip Morris. He was hired to design a nicotine analogue that would retain the drug's addictive qualities while not affecting the function of the heart.
  • Paul C Mele promoted by DeNoble to Research scientist (Aug 1982) and became the project leader for the behavioral pharmacology laboratory. Investigated nicotine.
  • Lisa M Carron (aka Lisa Eby. She transfered to marketing research on preferences. [2]
  • VP Dragan
  • Francis J Ryan

Documents & Timeline

1980 Apr first employed by Philip Morris as research scientist in R&D

1980 JulyDeNoble has written two papers in the June-July 1980 time period showing addictive behaviour and they have been marked "RESTRICTED" on the records. They have co-authorship by Thomas S Osdene, Francis J Ryan and William Lawrence Dunn. He also worked with Paul C Mele.[3]

1980 Oct 14 DeNoble and Lisa Carron have sent a progress report to Tom Osdene. They have been using self-administrated nicotine techniques with their laboratory rates (they press a lever to get another shot of nicotine) to test for addictive behavior. They tried injecting the nicotine directly into the rodent bloodstream, and occasionally switched to injecting saline solution as a control. When the nicotine was present in the fluids, the rodents pressed at 10 times the rate of the control saline.

They also tried the test with other nicotine-like chemicals that the tobacco companies hoped might have similar addictive effects without so much risk of heart damage. [4]

1981 Feb 17 DeNoble is working with Lisa Carron and they have reported that nicotine's effect extends beyond that of cholineric action:

Neurologically, cholinergic is the abbreviated term referring to acetylcholine. The parasympathetic nervous system, which uses acetylcholine almost exclusively to send its messages, is said to be almost entirely cholinergic. Neuromuscular junctions, preganglionic neurons of the sympathetic nervous system, the basal forebrain, and brain stem complexes are also cholinergic.

A report on his report by a science-lawyer offers the opinion:

"There is certainly nothing about this to raise questions of corporate security or to jeopardize a future patent position ."


1981 Apr 7 The DeNoble/Carron paper has passed through Philip Morris's in-house legal team and Robert Seligman, and has been approved for a speech at the Annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience -- provided it is only an oral presentation + abstract -- not a full study report. [6] The Speech notes are more expansive: [7]

1981The 1988 Surgeon General's report said that it had been conclusively proved by 1981 that nicotine was "a reinforcing agent in animal experiments.

1982 Feb 8 From H Barry returning an early paper for correction before publication. DeNoble is then at PM Research Labs. 1000040370 This is the subcutaneous injection study with NULL findings

1982 Mar 29:Tom Osdene, Director of Research at PM asked him to compare his laboratory self-administration techniques with the work of Singer.

1982 Apr /E About April Paul Mele appears to join the team as his second-in-command, and not long after they cease reporting to William Dunn, and begin reporting to James L Charles (Vice President of PM's Research & Development division)

1982 Aug DeNoble, V - the paper they were going to publish in 1982 from the PM labs. It shows that the subcutaneous injection of nicotine does not produce addiction. They are quite happy to publish null studies, but not any positives. 2056144870

1982 Oct-Dec Max Hausermann (at that time in the USA) has been given a study by Victor J DeNoble et al for presentation at a Virginia symposium on Nicotine. It is in fact confirmation that nicotine is addictive. The lawyers at Philip Morris led by Alexander Holtzman have clamped down on publication, but not on the speech. [8]

Two years later Philip Morris abruptly closed down his research laboratory and destroyed most of the records.

1982 Oct 19 Frank Colby at RJ Reynolds has discovered that DeNoble is doing animal laboratory research in the USA (against the agreements made between the cigarette companies). He advises the company's top inhouse lawyer, Samuel B Witt III. [9]Note that by coincidence, this is the same day that Max Hausemann (then in Richmond Virginia) wrote asking for permission to make the presentation. [10]

The document then passes through the hands of lawyers, Alex Holtzman had Jim Charles review it and he approved. But not for magazine publication.[11]

1983 Jan 5 Submitted a paper to Soc of Neuroscience meeting (Withdrawn later) MANUSCRIPT REVIEW BOARD 830000 2001212788/2796

1983 Jan 27 Osdene writes on S&H "A look into the future" (CONF) that Possible Response to the Issue of Behavioral Effects of Smoking Emphasis should be placed on the imprecise and misleading use of the term "addictive". It should also be stressed that recent studies show no physiological dependence to nirotine (e.g. DeNoble et al). He reports to W McDowell ªSMOKING AND HEALTH, A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE 1000120157/0164

1983 Mar 9 He is still on list - getting Reports 1003187041/7051

1983 Mar 15 He has written CRITIQUE OF 'WHY PEOPLE SMOKE' 1003582042/2045 "This paper attempts to classify cig smoking as a form of drug dependence; however (several problmes) HERE HE IS TAKING THE COMPANY LINE, AND GIVING THEM THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST ADDICTION ++++++


1983 Aug DeNoble is still at PM but forced to withdraw addiction paper 2056144762

1983 Aug 30 forced to withdraw his paper from publication in Physchopharmacology. 2045741369

1984 PM's internal chronology about DeNoble and Mele's attempts to publish papers about the addictive nature of nicotine, following the closure of their rat studies at the PM labs. 2056144729

1984 With Mele, DeNoble worked from 1980 to 1984 at the Philip Morris Research Center in Richmond, Va. as project leader for the behavioral pharmacology laboratory, investigated nicotine. He later testified to Congress in 1994 about the sudden dismantling of the laboratory - the second "Mouse House."

1984 Mar Tobacco Wars documentary (part 4) says they flew him to meet the President - who was, at that time ???? (probably Maxwell (1984 Elected Chairman and CEO of PM Companies) He was in charge of Whist's NYSIA and other ops at this time) Murray and Bible back in NY Office

1984 Mar terminated by Philip Morris.

1984 Apr He gave evidence to a Committee of the US House of Representatives [only weeks after his termination] saying;

  • nicotine is not addictive;
  • nicotine does not result in physiological dependence;
  • termination of nicotine administration does not result in withdrawal.

In other testimony [not dated or explained], Dr de Noble stated:

  • evidence that a substance is a so-called reinforcer does not prove or mean that the substance is addictive.
  • nicotine is a reinforcer in the class of non-addictive chemical compounds such as saccharin or water.

1985 List of papers produced by Victor de Noble and his team at the PM labs since 1980.

  • Apr 24 1980 Nicotine Program (Behavioral Research Laboratory)
  • June 20 1980 Annual Report (Restricted)
  • July 23 1980 Self Administration, Reinforcement Addition [ie 'addiction'] with Dunn, Osdene and Ryan - (Restricted only to Seligman.)
  • Aug 18 1980 Research Progress (Restricted to Dunn)
  • Sep 29 1980 Article The Nicotine Fix - sent to Osdene (not restricted)
  • Oct 21 1980 Intra ventricular infusion of Nicotine (restricted to Dunn)
  • Oct 22 1980 Critique of Nat. Inst of Drug Abuse , Technical Review on Cigarette Smoking as an Addiction. (Unrestricted - to Osdene)
  • Dec 2 1980 Behavior Pharmacology Lab personnel (to Osdene)
  • Mar 27 1981 Progress in Behavior Pharmacology Lab (Restricted to Dunn)

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The first year of DeNoble's reports while working for PM suggests that he was doing genuine addictive research under William Dunn (who was nicknamed The Nicotine Kid). At the same time he was providing 'cigarettes are not addictive' PR materials for Tom Osdene at the Science & Technology division. This was mainly "Defensive Research".

A small team of researchers all report to DeNoble (LG Cook, PA Eichorn, H Barry)

1982 Apr 21 Paul Mele only enters the picture as co-author with DeNoble in a Progress Report on 21 April 1982. After Mele arrives there is a complete change of personnel in the lab. They now report to JL Charles, and the have acquired a new and larger team (S Mendell, CE McDonald, YP Dragan, RD Kinser) All the old team leave.

1983 July 6Objectives and Plans (Distributed to JL Charles) is probably the last report of the earlier team of nicotine researchers. (it takes a while to publish)

1983-84Various papers from the nicotine research lab

  • 5 Oct 1983 Behavioral Effects of Termination of Chronically Administrated (Restricted to JL Charles) [Note the 3 month gap between papers]
  • 26 Jan 1984 Adjunct Appointment of VCU (Virginia Commonwealth Uni) (to JL Charles) [Note the 4 month gap between papers]
  • 27 Jan 1984 Research Projects at VCU (to Osdene).
  • 21 Feb 1984 Temperature controls for Animal Vivarium (to JL Charles)
  • Mar 1984 The research was abruptly closed down and staff terminated [12]


1994 Mar 29 Minutes of the PM executive Action Team (Merlo, Bible, Campbell, Webb, Wall, Parrish.)

  • We will be meeting with Charlie Edwards on Wednesday 4/5 [ex FDA]
  • Possible meeting among RJR, Edwards and us on 4/6
  • Wall is preparing a summary of the facts regarding Dr deNoble
  • Parrish will ask Arnold & Porter to submit an FOIA to FDA re nicotine/addiction documents.

1994 Apr chronology of his research prepared by Donna Staunton, the head disinformation executive at Philip Morris in Australia - 2504078976

1994 May 14 See the anti-EPA Editorial draft article written by Elaine and Connie at Philip Morris for distibution to small newspapers. It attacks media one-sidedness:

A good example of the last point was the extensive media coverage given to the Waxman committee testimony of Dr Victor DeNoble, a former PM USA employee, who said he was forced to leave the company after his managers became worried that his research on nicotine would cause legal liability. Did the fact that the very same scientist was fired from a job with DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. for allegedly falsifying scientific research receive equal -- or even adequate -- coverage by the press? The answer is: No.

Here is the typeset version ready to be sent out to the small-newspaper mailing list. [13]

1994 June In his 1995 Oct Sackman vs Liggett deposition Victor DeNoble makes the point that he was assisting Congressman Henry Waxman at this time and photocopying documents in his staff offices. [14]

1994 Jul Evidence: joined PM in 1980 at age of 30, PhD in experimental psychology

Accepted offer to run a secret pharmacology lab for PM, doing research on nicotine's effects on the behavior of rats. The ultimate goal, he said, was the development of synthetic forms of nicotin that would give smokes a buzz while avoiding the chemcial's injurious effects on the heart. He was not a smoker. Intrigued by a chance "to study a very mysterious drug".


1994 Dec 30 Draft Philip Morris letter to the Frontline program (WGBH TV) in Boston. It maintains that Victor D Noble did not conduct research (as claimed by Henry Waxman) that showed nicotine was addictive.

1995 May 23 Victor de Noble obviously gave contradictory evidence that his research had proved that nicotine was addictive. Philip Morris reacted, releasing a report that says:

  • he was employed by PM USA from April 1980 to March 1984 as a research scientist in the R&D department
  • He gave evidence in April 1994 to a Committee of the US House of Representatives [now ten years after his termination] where he said his research led him to concluded the opposite of the present testimony [15]

1995 Oct 11DeNoble was deposed in a New York trial. (211 pages)

1996 Mar 20 WJLA-TV, ABC "Primtetime Live" Washington DC. Victor DeNoble, former PM scientist states secret research done at PM determined nicotine was addictive. DeNoble debates with William Campbell, PM CEO, and Henry Waxman. [Time of Liggett settlement and Ian Uydess, ex PM scientist turned whistleblower]

1997 Nov "May have information regarding the alleged misconduct by Defendants" State of Texas case 2077412112 Judge Folsom

1998 Nov 11 Facts witnesses in Texas Case 96740228 Department of Mental Retardation, Newcastle DE Was senior researcher at PM

1999 An article in the 1999 Harvard Law Review: subheaded "Bias and Manipulation in Viscusi's Survey Evidence." Taking Behavioralism Seriously: Some Evidence of Market Manipulation

In 1980 Philip Morris hired Victor DeNoble to study the pharmacology of nicotine. Working at a secluded laboratory, DeNoble and a colleague isolated two hallmarks of addiction among rats exposed to nicotine: self-administration and tolerance.

Philip Morris's in-house counsel subsequently alerted DeNoble that his data posed a danger to the company. After the journal Psychopharmacology accepted a research paper by DeNoble showing that, in terms of addiction, nicotine looked like heroin, Philip Morris ordered him to withdraw the paper .

In April 1984. the company abruptly closed DeNoble's nicotine research laboratory and threatened legal action if he published or talked about his work." See Page 7

2000 Mar AG&M listing of those responsible West Virginia Class Action DeNOBLE, VICTOR J. (Ph.D.) -Former Resesrcher, Senior Behavior Analyst, Philip Morris.



Transcript of statements made by DeNoble on TV about his dealings with PM [Insert Bates Numbers into Search field.] 2504099079, 2504099982, 2504099983, 2504099985, 2504099987, 2504099988, 2504099997, 2046484339A

(Information taken from Dr. DeNoble's biosketch, not available online.) <tdo>resource_id=2724 resource_code=denoble_victor search_term=Victor J. DeNoble</tdo>