Smoking and Health Proposal

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Smoking and Health Proposal

This 1969 Brown & Williamson (B&W) document discusses using cigarette advertising to "counter the anti-cigarette forces" by including defensive editorial text in the ads. The document states, "Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' [linking smoking with disease] that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy...if we are successful in establishing a controversy at the public level, there is an opportunity to put across the real facts about smoking and health."

An educated guess is that this document was authored by Robert A. Pittman, Senior Brand Marketing Supervisor at B&W from 1968-70, with help from B&W marketing executives John Blaylock, Charles I. McCarty and Corny S. Muije. This assumption is based on a memo ordering the project written by John W. Burgard, Executive Vice President of Sales and Public Relations at B&W in 1969. This memo has a Bates number adjacent to the "Smoking and Health Proposal" (Bates Number: 690010960/0961 URL:

The objectives of the proposal (found in another adjacent document) are remarkable for the callous attitude towards public health and the tragedy upon humanity that they represent:

Objective No. 1: To set aside in the minds of millions the false conviction that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases; a conviction based on fanatical assumptions, fallacious rumors, unsupported claims and the unscientific statements and conjectures of publicity-seeking opportunists.

Objective No. 2: To lift the cigarette from the cancer identification as quickly as possible and restore it to its proper place of dignity and acceptance in the minds of men and women in the marketplace of American free enterprise.

Objective No. 3: To expose the incredible, unprecedented and nefarious attack against the cigarette, constituting the greatest libel and slander ever perpetrated against any product in the history of free enterprise...

Objective No. 4: To unveil the insidious and developing pattern of attack against the American free enterprise system, a sinister formula that is slowly eroding American business with the cigarette obviously selected as one of the trial targets.

[Taken from Starting Bates Number: 690010962, URL:

Title: Smoking and Health Proposal
Date: 1969
Type: Speech, presentation; meeting materials
Bates No. 690010951/0959
Collection: Brown & Williamson
Pages: 9

NOTES: The ads discussed in these documents were in fact developed. They were ads for KOOL cigarettes that contained editorial text about smoking and disease. The ads were called "Adios II with Side Copy" and "Adios II with Bottom Copy." Documents show B&W did extensive copy testing of these ads with focus groups:

Title: KOOL print advertisements, "Adios II with Side Copy" "Adios II with Bottom Copy" Report B+W-69-22 Extended Service
Document Date: 1969 (Month and year unavailable)
Document Type: Marketing report; Advertisement, chart
Bates Number: 690006218/6316
Page Count: 100
Collection: Brown and Williamson

Title: KOOL Print Advertisements "Adios II with Side Copy" "Adios II with Bottom Copy" Report B&W-69-22 Extended Service
Document Date: 1969 (month, year unavailable)
Document Type: Marketing report, chart, questionnaire, report.
Bates Number: 689016814/6922
Page Count: 109
Collection: Brown & Williamson