On February 28, 1994, ABC aired a segment of the magazine show "Day One"
produced by Walt Bogdanich about the tobacco industry. The report claimed the
tobacco companies had been "spiking" their cigarettes. The story said that
Philip Morris was taking nicotine out of tobacco to later put it back into the
cigarettes in greater amounts. This process enabled the companies to increase
the percentage of nicotine and make cigarettes more addictive.
The story came out at the time the FDA had launched its own investigation
focusing on nicotine to determine whether nicotine should be regulated as a
In reaction, Philip Morris filed a $10 billion libel lawsuit against ABC
centered on the use of the word "spiking." The tobacco company won and the
network settled, agreeing to issue a prime time public apology for mistakenly
reporting that tobacco companies add significant amounts of nicotine from
The network also agreed to pay $15 million to cover Philip Morris's legal
For more on ABC's run-in with Philip Morris check out FRONTLINE's web site
"Smoke in the Eye."
the criminal probe .
will there be a deal? .
a look at the depositions .
big tobacco - what's at stake .
links & readings .
tapes & transcripts .
frontline online .
web site copyright 1995-2014
WGBH educational foundation