1995 - ABC

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 drug.

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 outside sources.

The network also agreed to pay $15 million to cover Philip Morris's legal fees.

For more on ABC's run-in with Philip Morris check out FRONTLINE's web site  "Smoke in the Eye."

 

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