Handwritten note from Philip Morris scientist Jim Charles

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

Future Strategies for the Changing Cigarette: National Conference on Smoking or Health

This powerful, handwritten 1982 Philip Morris memorandum dated 1982 was composed by James L. Charles Ph.D., a.k.a. "Jim Charles,", a veteran scientist in PM's Research and Development Department. The memo was written at the time of the 1982 National Conference on Smoking or Health, at which the U.S. Susrgeon General held a press conference where he broadened the list of cancers linked to cigarette use. In the note, Charles worries about the landlside of public and private experts who are starting to link cigarettes with multiple organ cancers and other diseases. Charles describes to his superiors the warlike scenario they face, and makes it clear that there are a significant number of biologically active chemicals in cigarettes and smoke:

This company is in trouble. The cigarette industry is in trouble....The anti-smoking forces are out to bury us... Their goal is to destroy the industry and any means to that end is justified (in their opinion)....

...The Surgeon General's press conference was disturbing. For the first time associations between cancers other than the lung and cigarette smoking are being made in an emphatic manner. Associating cigarette smoking with 30% of all cancer deaths should make someone sit up and take notice...

....Let's face the facts:

1. Cigarette smoke is biologically active. A. Nicotine is a potent pharmacological agent. Every toxicologist, physiologist, medical doctor and most chemists know that. It is not a secret.

B. Cigarette smoke condensate applied to the backs of mice causes tumors.

C. Hydrogen cyanide is a potent inhibitor of cytochrome oxidase - a crucial enzyme in the energy metabolism of all cells.

D. Oxides of nitrogen are important in nitrosamine formation. Nitrosamines as a class are potent carcinogens.

E. Tobacco-specific nonvolatile nitrosamines are present in significant amounts in cigarette smoke.

F. Acreolin is a potent eye irritant and is very toxic to cells. Acreolin is in cigarette smoke.

G. Polonium-210 is present in cigarette smoke.

H. We know very little about the biological activity of sidestream smoke.

I. We do not know enough about the biological activity of additives which have been in use for a number of years...

These confessions were written in 1982 by a top Philip Morris scientist, and were sent to the head of PM's Science and Technology Department. Yet despite these important admissions from one of its most dedicated and stalwart scientists, PM continued to advertise and market cigarettes as though they were safe.

Per. Author James L. Charles, Ph.D.
Date 19820223
Bates 1003171563/1567
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 5
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/bsw74e00