Nicotine and Tobacco: continued

In normal circumstances, I would be happy to summarize that statement orally and then respond to any questions you or members of the committee might have, but these are not normal circumstances, Mr. Chairman. You have made a number of very serious claims and assertions during the press conference that you called yesterday, claims and assertions that question the integrity of our company and of Dr. Alexander Speers (ph), who is with me today and testified before this committee on March 25.

When a representative of our company called your staff yesterday following the press conference to ask that Dr. Speers (ph) be given a separate opportunity to respond to the claims and assertions from yesterday's press conference that related to him, we were told that this would not be possible. More specifically, we were told that Dr. Speers's opportunity to respond would be limited to any time that might be left from the time that has been allotted to my testimony or to the question-and-answer period that is to follow.

Mr. Chairman, I frankly cannot understand the attitude conveyed by your staff. Indeed, I am left with no choice but to cede the balance of my time to Dr. Speers to ensure that he will have the adequate opportunity to correct the very serious misstatements and misconceptions that were conveyed in yesterday's press conference. Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I'd like to ask that Dr. Speers may respond during the rest of my time period.

Rep. Waxman: Mr. Tisch, we're going to have plenty of opportunity for Dr. Speers to respond. I do have a number of questions to ask of him. He will have his chance, but this is our chance to hear from you, and we want to hear from you at this point.

Mr. Tisch: Okay, fine. I must respectfully disagree with that, but you're the boss. On behalf of the more than 3,700 employees of Lorillard Tobacco Company, I am pleased to have this opportunity to address you about the issues you identified in your letter to Lorillard of March 31, 1994, announcing this hearing. You will recall that Dr. Speers testified before this subcommittee on March 25, 1994, with respect to the same subjects proposed for discussion here today. Inasmuch as Dr. Speers's and Lorillard's position on the questions raised has not changed in the past two weeks and for the sake of brevity, I have attached to my statement a copy of Dr. Speers's written submission of March 25 and ask your permission that it and his March 25 oral testimony also be entered into the record of today's hearing.

Rep. Waxman: Without objection, that will be the order.

Mr. Tisch: At the outset, I want to reaffirm and emphasize what Dr. Speers said during his appearance on March 25 and to make absolutely clear to the Congress and to the public that the level of nicotine in the products manufactured and sold by Lorillard is solely determined by the tobacco that we buy and the blending of the different tobaccos used in our manufacturing.

The tar and nicotine yields of our products are determined by a combination of the tobacco blends and the physical characteristics which constitute the construction of the cigarette, namely length, circumference, paper porosity, filter, tip ventilation, and tobacco density. Nicotine levels follow tar levels and are not raised or reduced for particular brands.

Dr. Speers previously advised you that in the course of manufacturing, we use denatured alcohol, which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms requires be made unpotable by the manufacturer of the alcohol through the addition of a minuscule amount of nicotine. We also use a number of flavors which incorporate a tobacco extract that contains some nicotine. But it's important to understand the combined amount of nicotine from these sources is too small to be measured in the final products.

The manufacture of our brands of cigarettes also involves the use of reconstituted tobacco or tobacco sheaf. One of the processes Lorillard uses in the production of reconstituted tobacco involves the temporary separation and subsequent reapplication of water-soluble components of tobacco, including nicotine. However, and I invite your specific attention to this important fact, this process and all others, all of which are well known in published literature, result in a reduction of nicotine in the finished product.

Dr. Kessler's March 25 testimony referred to a 1980 Lorillard patent dealing with nicotine in reconstituted tobacco. I am advised that an early laboratory observation indicated a possible use for this process and, following our usual business practice and that of virtually every other company in America, we applied for and obtained the patent.

However, so there is no misunderstanding, the record should reflect that Lorillard has never practiced the patented process in any commercial manner.

Moreover, even if it was to be used, the process would not result in any increase or decrease in the nicotine level. In your March 31 letter, we are asked to address any studies of the physiological or psychological effects of nicotine and related compounds which have been undertaken by Lorillard. I can respond succinctly: Lorillard has not undertaken any such research.

As regards cigarette ingredients, please note the following: The cigarette manufacturers have provided to the Department of Health and Human Services each year since 1984 a comprehensive listing of cigarette ingredients. HHS has never indicated to Lorillard at any time in response to those submissions that it had a problem with respect to any individual ingredient or groups of ingredients.

Indeed, when HHS asked the manufacturers for the quantity of each ingredient being used, the manufacturers promptly provided that information to HHS on a confidential basis. To my knowledge, HHS has no outstanding requests to this manufacturer or any others for additional information. The manufacturers, including Lorillard, have assured HHS repeatedly that we would be happy to meet with HHS officials and/or HHS scientific consultants to answer any questions about ingredients which the HHS or its consultants might have. I reaffirm that commitment now.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, allow me to sum up and to state Lorillard's position on the principal issues raised in the statement released by you when you scheduled today's hearings. In doing so, it is also my purpose to respond to Dr. Kessler's erroneous assertions, first made on February 25 and then expanded upon at your March 25 hearing. Lorillard does not take any steps to assure a minimum level of nicotine in our products. Lorillard does not add nicotine to cigarette tobacco for the purpose of manipulating or spiking the amount of nicotine received by the smoker. Lorillard makes no effort to keep secret any information about the nicotine content of our products, and, as you know, since 1971 every cigarette advertisement has carried a complete disclosure of the tar and nicotine content.

Mr. Chairman, I respectfully suggest to you that Lorillard has acted, and will continue to act, in a completely responsible manner in this as well as all our business practices. Furthermore, I state unequivocally that our manufacturing neither violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, nor do they justify placing the manufacture of cigarettes under the jurisdiction of the FDA.

I thank you for your attention and for this opportunity to state Lorillard's position. At the appropriate time Dr. Spears and I will take any questions you or your colleagues might have. Thank you.

Rep. Waxman: Thank you very much, Mr. Tisch.

I want to call next on Donald Johnston, president and CEO of American Tobacco Company.

Mr. Johnston: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Much of what I have to say is repetitive from the statements already read. But I believe the points do bear repetition, as they focus on the facts concerning the issues you raised in your letter inviting us to this hearing. Aside from tobacco itself and federally authorized use of alcohol denatured with minute amounts of nicotine, the American Tobacco Company does not use nicotine in the manufacture of its cigarette. Contrary to the implications that have been aired before this subcommittee and elsewhere, the American Tobacco Company does not spike its cigarettes with nicotine or does not use any of the patents that have been placed before this subcommittee on any other like processes or devices.

The only source of nicotine, other than that naturally occurring in tobacco, is introduced from specially denatured alcohol number four, which is used as a solvent for flavorings. SDA number four is authorized for tobacco use in accordance with the 27 code of federal regulations for alcohol, tobacco products, and firearms, which was revised as of April 1, 1993. I believe it's Section 21.118 and 21.38, and it is denatured by the alcohol manufacturer in accordance with the prescribed formula outlined in the regulations.

Now, the quantity of nicotine indirectly added to tobacco from the use of SDA number four is on the order of three parts per million to five parts per million, or three ten-thousandths of a percent to five ten-thousandths of a percent by weight, which is infinitesimal in comparison to the naturally occurring nicotine of tobacco blends that generally contain two to two and a half percent by weight. Further, the American Tobacco Company does manufacture reconstituted tobacco by the (foredrenia ?) paper-making process that involves separation of water-soluble components from tobacco, formation of a tobacco cellulosic sheet, and reapplication of the water-soluble components to a sheet that is in a continuous process. American does not add nicotine to this process. The end product is tobacco material that contains only the quantity of water-soluble components, including nicotine originally removed from the tobacco. In practice, as I believe has already been mentioned, the nicotine content of the finished reconstituted tobacco material is approximately four percent less, which is owing to the processing losses, than the nicotine content of the tobacco utilized in the reconstitution process.

The American Tobacco Company uses various types of natural tobaccos, including reconstituted tobacco in the manufacture of its cigarettes. The percentages of natural tobacco types and reconstituted tobacco vary by brand. However, after processing of tobacco for cigarette manufacture, the nicotine content is on the order of five percent less than that of the various tobaccos entering into the process.

On the matter of patents. The American Tobacco Company has been issued two patents, U.S. Patent number 3428049 and number 4505282, which reference the addition of materials which could include tobacco extract and/or nicotine to cigarette filters and an innerline wrap for a tobacco -smoking article. As with any patent, the language is purposely broad in scope, with an objective of covering a wide variety of conceptual applications which may or may not be reduced to practice. While American Tobacco has been issued such patents, addition of tobacco extract, our nicotine to cigarette filters and wrapper have never been employed in a commercial cigarette produced by American Tobacco. In summary, nicotine involved in the federally regulated and authorized use of SDA number four, denatured alcohol, is negligible. Nothing is done in the tobacco processing or manufacture of cigarettes or filters by the American Tobacco Company to increase nicotine beyond that which is naturally occurring in the tobacco. I would now like to address questions that have also been raised with respect to the intent of the design of our cigarettes in relation to nicotine. In 1966, the Federal Trade Commission amended its cigarette advertising guide to encourage cigarette manufacturers to publish the tar and nicotine content expressed in milligrams of the mainstream smoke of a cigarette, declaring that to be information concerning cigarettes, which may be material and desired by the consuming public. Time has proven the FTC has been right, and that consumers have shown an interest in and differing preferences for differing levels of tar and nicotine.

Moreover, since 1971, American has been governed by, and has adhered to, an FTC consent order requiring American to publish in its advertisements of low-tar cigarettes tar and nicotine data as determined by the testing method employed by the FTC in the testing of the smoke of its domestic cigarettes. Through tobacco blends, filtration, ventilation, American Tobacco has, on a sales-weighted average, reduced tar and consequently nicotine levels as determined by the FTC method. The tar and nicotine data for each of American's products are published. American carefully monitors its finished cigarettes in the published data to assure that the tar and nicotine figures are accurate.

Thus American Tobacco manufactures and sells cigarettes with different tar and nicotine content in response to the consumer demand for different types of cigarettes, and provides correct information to consumers about those amounts. American has no desire or intent to manipulate nicotine. At no time has the American Tobacco Company attempted to market a cigarette based on nicotine content; or, more generally, has it ever designed or marketed a cigarette with the purpose or intent of selling nicotine. Rather, American has always considered that it sells cigarettes, and that nicotine is one of the several intrinsic properties characteristic of the tobacco itself.

Thank you for your attention, Mr. Chairman.

Rep. Waxman: Thank you very much, Mr. Johnston. We next want to hear from Mr. Horrigan.

Mr. Horrigan: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and --

Rep. Waxman: Be sure to pull the microphone up, and --

Mr. Horrigan: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and fellow members of the committee. My name is Ed Horrigan, Jr., and I am chairman and chief executive officer of the Liggett Group. Although I've only somewhat recently joined Liggett, I have had the pleasure of addressing this subcommittee on a prior occasion. And for having served in the military and then in companies in other industries in this country for over 20 years, I joined the tobacco industry 16 years ago. And then, in 1989, I retired as chairman and CEO of Reynolds Tobacco, as well as vice chairman of RJR Nabisco.

I came out of retirement to rejoin the tobacco industry, mindful of the challenges presented to it at this time, and also with the knowledge borne of my experience that the tobacco industry is one of the respectable industries that make up American commerce. It acts responsibly in its business practices, and it produces a product recognized worldwide for its quality. And therefore I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the subcommittee on behalf of Liggett on the matters that were discussed during your meeting earlier on March 25th. While remarks will be somewhat redundant, repetitive from the other companies, I will highlight them to show the uniform sense of responsibility and accountability that exists in this industry, and to add our sense to the absurdity of the allegations that people continue to place against this industry.

At the outset, I would like to make it clear that Liggett does not increase the nicotine level of our cigarettes beyond the level of nicotine found naturally in the unprocessed tobacco that we use to make our cigarettes. Secondly, Liggett does not manipulate the level of nicotine in our cigarettes to hook or addict smokers. Third, Liggett does not use any of the patented technology that was referred to by Dr. Kessler before this committee last month. And, finally, I want to emphasize that we at Liggett are proud of the quality of the cigarettes that we produce, we are proud of the people who grow our tobacco that goes into our product, we are proud of the people who manufacture them for us, as well as those people who distribute and sell our product legitimately around this country.

Now, with regard to the manufacture of cigarettes, I would like to emphasize that the manufacturing process results in a reduction in the amount of nicotine in cigarettes when compared to the nicotine in the unprocessed tobacco. Secondly, the essential components of cigarette manufacturing, and specifically the use of reconstituted tobacco, has been publicly documented for decades -- so none of this this morning is new. Reconstituted tobacco is used to reduce waste and to achieve the most efficient use of the natural tobacco that we purchase for our product. Tobacco is the most expensive component of the cigarette, and therefore any loss of that tobacco would make the production of cigarettes more costly.

In brief, the reconstitution process involves the addition of water to the tobacco to separate water-soluble substances, including some nicotine, from the tobacco. The remaining tobacco cellulose can then be formed into sheets. Water-soluble substances, originally removed from the tobacco, are then once again returned to that tobacco sheet. No nicotine not found naturally in the tobacco is added in the production of the reconstituted tobacco. In fact, the reconstituted tobacco contains less nicotine than raw tobacco from which it was made because a certain amount of the natural nicotine is inevitably lost in that process.

Denatured alcohol and tobacco flavorants are the only other sources of nicotine in our cigarettes. Nicotine occurs naturally in the water-soluble extracts of tobacco used in miniscule amounts as flavorants. The use of tobacco flavorants has been a matter of public record, again, for decades.

The specially denatured alcohol number 4 which is used as a carrier for flavorants is the only denatured alcohol that's approved by BATF for the manufacturing process in cigarettes. The BATF requires that that alcohol be denatured by the addition of a miniscule amount of nicotine to make it undrinkable, and it is denatured in accordance with the prescribed formulas outlined by BATF. The amount of nicotine contributed to tobacco smoke by way of tobacco flavorants and denatured alcohol is so miniscule that it cannot be measured in tobacco smoke using the FTC's standard methods.

Moreover, as I noted, the nicotine content of cigarettes manufactured by Liggett is lower than the nicotine in the unprocessed tobacco that we use to make our product. Therefore, Liggett, like the rest of us, does not manipulate or spike the amount of nicotine during the manufacture of its cigarettes to achieve an alleged addicting level of nicotine. Specifically, Liggett does not and has not used any of the patented processes described in those patents referred to in Dr. Kessler's earlier testimony.

Liggett does not believe there is any such thing as an addicting level of nicotine in cigarettes or that cigarettes are addictive like heroin or cocaine, as has been alleged. In fact, to equate cigarette smoking with actual hard drug addiction ignores the significant differences between them. It also blinks at reality.

As has been mentioned, there have been over 40 million Americans who have chosen to quit smoking and more than half of all adult smokers have quit, 90 percent of them quitting without the aid of the Betty Ford Clinic or the Hazelton Clinic or any such clinic. It's thus apparent that irrespective of the nicotine in cigarettes, consumers can and do choose to quit. In conclusion, let me say that nicotine is a naturally occurring substance in tobacco which is obviously an intrinsic characteristic of our product. Liggett does not design or manufacture its cigarettes with the intent to spike the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. There's no secret about the nicotine yields of Liggett's cigarettes, which I reiterate has been publicly disclosed for years.

In closing, I'd like to add a personal observation. Some anti- tobacco zealots would have the American people believe that in our manufacturing process there's a gentleman at the end of each line with a pot of nicotine making sure that we sprinkle the product as it goes out the door to be sure that there's enough nicotine to hook or addict smokers. We don't do that, and I've never heard of it being done. In all of my years in this business worldwide, I have never known of a product design objective or goal that included even the notion of spiking the amount of nicotine in a cigarette to achieve a level that would hook or addict smokers. I am pleased to be back before your committee, Mr. Chairman. We look forward to answering your questions.

Rep. Waxman: Thank you very much, Mr. Horrigan. And last, Mr. -- is it Taddeo?

Mr. Taddeo: Taddeo.

Rep. Waxman: Taddeo.

Mr. Taddeo: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. U.S. Tobacco is a leading manufacturer and producer of smokeless tobacco products, including moist snuff. U.S. Tobacco does not manufacture cigarettes. U.S. Tobacco's smokeless tobacco brands include Copenhagen, which is one of America's oldest registered brand names. It was introduced in 1822. Skoal, our second-largest selling brand, was introduced in 1934. Clearly smokeless tobacco is not a new product.

The use of smokeless tobacco has been a tradition in the United States since the 18th century, predating branded cigarettes by over 100 years. In fact, smokeless tobacco products dominated the American tobacco market until the early 20th century when cigarettes began to win wide public acceptance. While today smokeless tobacco products are consumed throughout the United States, per capita consumption of smokeless tobacco in the 1990s is less than 25 percent of what it was at the turn of the century.

As for U.S. Tobacco's products specifically, the makeup and manufacturing process for smokeless tobacco brands is very similar to what it was at the turn of the century, regardless of flavor, cut of the tobacco, form or packaging. I welcome, Mr. Chairman, this opportunity to set the record straight with regard to the baseless claims made before this subcommittee on March 25th concerning U.S. Tobacco's marketing practices.

Before turning to those matters, however, I will comment on allegations of manipulation or control of nicotine in tobacco products. U.S. Tobacco does not in any way manipulate the nicotine level in its tobacco products, nor does U.S. Tobacco take any action to control the nicotine content of its tobacco products before, during or after the manufacturing process. In fact, an incidental effect of our manufacturing process is that the nicotine content of our smokeless tobacco products is less than that which occurs naturally in the tobacco. Other than tobacco itself, the only material used in the manufacture of U.S. Tobacco's smokeless tobacco products which contains nicotine is denatured alcohol, which is purchased from the supplier as a carrying agent for the application of certain flavorings that do not dissolve in water. The denatured alcohol used by U.S. Tobacco has been denatured by its manufacturer with small amounts of nicotine.

The use of nicotine as a denaturer for alcohol which is to be used in the processing and manufacturing of tobacco products is specifically approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. The amount of nicotine that might be contributed to our smokeless tobacco products through the use of this denatured alcohol in the manufacturing process is so miniscule as to be unmeasurable by standard laboratory methodologies. Mr. Chairman, there were three serious allegations made before this subcommittee on March 25th regarding U.S. Tobacco's marketing practices; first, the allegation that U.S. Tobacco markets its smokeless tobacco products to persons under the age of 18. The second allegation was that U.S.

Tobacco has conducted scientific research for the purpose of, quote, "creating and maintaining dependence among smokeless tobacco consumers." And third, the allegation that U.S. Tobacco's products are developed on the basis of some sort of graduating levels of nicotine. As to the allegation that U.S. Tobacco markets its products to persons under the age of 18, that allegation is absolutely false. We strongly believe at U.S. Tobacco that those who enjoy our products should be adults. That is why U.S. Tobacco and other smokeless tobacco manufacturers have devoted substantial efforts and resources to discourage the sale of their products to minors. Those efforts include support of state laws mandating 18 as a minimum purchase age for smokeless tobacco products; a program to remind parents, retailers and other adults that smokeless tobacco is an adult custom not intended for use; and a national campaign in publications such as USA Today and U.S. News & World Report to communicate our adults-only policy.

I, too, am concerned about reports indicating that some individuals have tried tobacco products, including smokeless, before they are adults. Research conducted by others indicates that advertising plays little if any role in the decision to begin using smokeless tobacco. That research indicates that a variety of factors, including family and friends, appear to influence the decision to begin using various products, including smokeless tobacco. It's noteworthy that according to a recent Department of Health & Human Services report, use of smokeless tobacco by males under 18 years of age is low, decreasing and very close to HHS's target or goal for the year 2000. The 1992 healthy people review states that the reported use of smokeless tobacco, which is defined as use on at least one occasion in the last 30 days, by 12- to 17-year-old males, decreased by 20 percent from 6.6 percent in '88 to 5.3 percent in '91.

Moreover, a survey published in October 1993 by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration reported that the use of smokeless tobacco by 12- to 17-year-old males had further declined in 1992 to 4.8 percent, which is very close to the 4 percent target for the year 2000 and Healthy People 2000 review. Even though these trends are encouraging, they're not good enough.

We're not going to rest until that figure is zero. U.S. Tobacco will continue its efforts with other members of the industry to discourage the sale of smokeless tobacco products to minors. As for the allegation that U.S. Tobacco has conducted scientific research for the purpose of, quote, "creating and maintaining dependence among consumers," that allegation is also false. The research in question was funded by U.S.

Tobacco and other tobacco manufacturers. However, it was neither intended nor used by U.S. Tobacco to develop or manufacture smokeless tobacco products. The research was conducted 15 years ago by a group of independent researchers in the department of pharmacology at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. For a number of years, the Pennsylvania State researchers have been interested in measuring extremely low levels of nicotine in tobacco consumers. And later they became interested in studying the absorption by humans of nicotine from snuffing chewing tobacco. The Pennsylvania State researchers submitted a research proposal for a three-year study to pursue this matter. Several tobacco companies, including U.S. Tobacco, funded this research during the period 1978 to 1981. The documents relied upon to support this allegation in testimony relates to the research conducted at Pennsylvania State and was prepared by those researchers. The results of that research are reflected in a 1983 publication by the Pennsylvania State researchers in the Journal of Pharmacology, therefore available in the public domain. Now this project, the funding of this research, was part of the smokeless tobacco industry's ongoing funding of research by independent investigators into questions relating to smokeless tobacco and health. Over the years such funding has totaled more than $25 million and has been acknowledged in nearly 800 scholarly articles in abstract in a wide spectrum of scientific publications.

As to the allegation that U.S. Tobacco products are developed based on graduating levels of nicotine, that allegation is false. As indicated in my written statement, the assertion that U.S. Tobacco manipulates its consumers and dictates which of its smokeless tobacco products those consumers ultimately choose to use are totally false. The key to our product development process is developing products which appeal to the taste preferences of our consumers. The taste characteristics of our smokeless tobacco products, as with all tobacco products, are inherently complex. A number of factors interacting with each other affect the ultimate taste, including leaf blend, cut of tobacco, moisture, ph, flavors, and undoubtedly, nicotine in the tobacco leaf.

U.S. Tobacco's success is based on its unique ability to develop a wide selection of flavor products incorporating blends of tobacco that have been developed over hundreds of years ago. What would I tell somebody who said you are using a graduating strategy to entice consumers to begin using low nicotine starter products, either through advertising or through nicotine dependence, to graduate them to products with higher levels of nicotine? I would tell them that our consumers do not conform to any so-called graduation theory. The oral tobacco market does not work that way. There is no set pattern of brand switching among smokeless tobacco consumers. Smokeless tobacco consumers remain loyal to a single brand or switch among a variety of brands according to their taste preferences, cut of tobacco, form and packaging. U.S. Tobacco's line of smokeless tobacco is based on the appreciation that we cannot make any part of the public like and use any one of our products if it does not appeal to their taste preferences.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me address the general concerns which have been raised about the ingredient standards of tobacco products. The identity of the ingredient in U.S. Tobacco's smokeless tobacco products is proprietary information. I can assure you, however, that U.S. Tobacco has a procedure in place for the evaluation of all available scientific information regarding the ingredients added to the tobacco in the manufacturing of our products. As a result of these evaluations, U.S. Tobacco believes that no ingredient which it adds to tobacco in the manufacture of its products would result in adverse health consequences to a consumer of our products.

Without revealing proprietary information, I can tell you that every ingredient which U.S. Tobacco adds to tobacco in the manufacture of our products is a common food item or approved for use in food, with the one single exception of denatured alcohol, which you've heard a lot about today, which is the only substance approved by the DHEF for use in the manufacture of tobacco products.

Rep. Waxman: Thank you very much, Mr. Taddeo. The rest of that statement is going to be in the record. Well I want you to know that all my colleagues on this subcommittee appreciate your being here. Your participation in the subcommittee's ongoing investigation into tobacco is essential. This is not going to be, however, an easy day. We have a lot of substantive issues that we want to go into.

When we hear about scientific disputes we have to listen to one expert versus another. But let me tell you there are some things that we know about from our own personal experience. I was a smoker and I know how addicted I was to smoking. I know how hard it was quit, each and every time I did try to quit.

And I had to do it a number of times before I was successful. So from my own personal experience, and from people I've known and talked to, your universal comment that cigarette smoking is not addictive just doesn't ring true. Mr. Johnson, I want to start with your testimony. You and your colleagues seem to have almost a fanatical insistence that your products are the same as all these other products. This morning, in your written statement and your oral statement, you compared cigarettes to coffee, tea, sweets, sugar, warm milk, cheese, chocolate and Twinkies. That's quite a list. I'm struck by what I think is a calculated attempt to trivialize the devastating health impact of your product. You and I both know that Twinkies don't kill a single American a year. They may not add to a healthy diet, but they don't kill. The difference between cigarettes and Twinkies and the other products you mentioned is death. And I am sure you are aware that the Surgeon General and the American Medical Association estimate that cigarettes kill over 400,000 smokers every year. Putting aside your assertion that people accept this risk willingly, do you agree with this estimate?

Mr. Johnston: Do I agree with the estimate of 435,000 people? I've heard from this committee this morning three or four different numbers. My understanding of how that number is --

Rep. Waxman: If you don't agree with the number, then give us your number. How many smokers die each year from smoking?

Mr. Johnston: I will explain.

Rep. Waxman: No, I want your answer. We have a limited time.

Mr. Johnston: I do not know how many.

Rep. Waxman: You disagree with the Surgeon General's opinion?

Mr. Johnston: It is a computer generated number that makes --

Rep. Waxman: Mr. Johntson, I am going to have to ask you to respond to my question. Do you or do you not agree with the Surgeon General's estimate of over 400,000 smokers dying each year.

Mr. Johnston: I do not agree.

Rep. Waxman: Okay. Do you know how many die each year?

Mr. Johnston: I do not know.

Rep. Waxman: How can you as a chief executive officer of a company manufacturing a product that's been accused of killing so many people not know this information? How is it?

Mr. Johnston: I'm telling you that number is generated by a computer and it makes two important assumptions. The first that virtually everyone who smokes and dies, dies because they smoked, unless they got run over by a bus. And second, that model allows people to die one, two, three, four times. I don't know how that can happen, but that's what that model does.

Rep. Waxman: Well, I'm struck by the overwhelming scientific agreement on the dangers of smoking. The U.S. Public Health Service, the Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute, the American Medical Association, I guess all these groups you would call the anti- tobacco industry. But they all say it is hazardous. The experts also agree that smoking causes heart disease. Do you agree that smoking causes heart disease?

Mr. Johnston: It may.

Rep. Waxman: Okay. They agree that smoking causes lung cancer. Do you agree?

Mr. Johnston: It may.

Rep. Waxman: Do you know whether it does?

Mr. Johnston: I do not know.

Rep. Waxman: Why not?

Mr. Johnston: Because all of that is --

Rep. Waxman: Proprietary?

Mr. Johnston: -- statistically generated data. It is epidemiological as opposed to empirical. There have been no laboratory studies which have been able to confirm any statistics.

Rep. Waxman: grandfather who smoked all of his life died of lung cancer. Do you think that lung cancer was caused by smoking?

MR. Johnston: I don't know, Mr. Chairman.

Rep. Waxman: The medical experts agree that smoking causes emphysema. Do you agree?

Mr. Johnston: It may.

Rep. Waxman: They agree that smoking causes bladder cancer, stroke and low birth rate? Do you agree?

MR. Johnston: It may.

Rep. Waxman: Mr. Tisch, I want to move to you for a moment. In a deposition last year you were asked whether cigarette smoking causes cancer. Your answer was "I don't believe so." Do you stand by that answer today?

Mr. Tisch: I do, sir.

Rep. Waxman: Do you understand how isolated you are in the belief from the entire scientific community?

Mr. Tisch: I do, sir.

Rep. Waxman: You're the head of manufacturer of a product that's been accused by the overwhelming scientific community to cause cancer. You don't know? Do you have an interest in finding out?

Mr. Tisch: I do, sir, yes.

Rep. Waxman: And what have you done to pursue that interest?

Mr. Tisch: We have looked at the data and the data that we have been able to see has all been statistical data that has not convinced me that smoking causes death.

Rep. Waxman: Mr. Campbell, you were also deposed and you said "To my knowledge it has not been proven that cigarette smoking causes cancer." This is a rather passive and puzzling approach, especially in light of the consensus. Not by some, but all of the scientific community. Will you ever be convinced, and what evidence are you waiting for? And let's have the microphone passed over.

Mr. Campbell: Yes, I may be convinced. We don't know what causes cancer in general right now, so I think that we may find out what causes cancer and we may find out some relationship, which has yet to be proven.

Rep. Waxman: Well you know I must say this is rather a passive approach. Don't you feel that you have an obligation, the same obligation that every other consumer company has, to determine whether you are causing harm and to take steps to minimize that harm? You're not meeting that responsibility, and it is clear your views on the health impacts of cigarettes are out of step with an overwhelming scientific evidence. If all the medical people who don't work for you say it causes cancer, what more do you need to understand that that's the case and to accept this, and then try to work constructively to try to see if we can avoid that terrible tragedy to so many people?

Mr. Campbell: Is there a question, sir?

Rep. Waxman: That's a question.

Mr. Campbell: I'm sorry, it was too long for me to --

Rep. Waxman: Well, I think that the point I am making is that all of you have some responsibility, not simply to say you don't know, even when this overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is against you. I think you have an obligation to know.

Rep. Ron Wyden (D-OR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just before we go to my questioning, I know that the witnesses want to turn this into the battle of the charts, I guess, with respect to Dr. Kessler and the FDA. We're going to get into it later, but we believe that the chart in question with respect to the FDA is an accurate one, and we'll get into it a little bit later. Let me begin my questioning on the matter of whether or not nicotine is addictive. Let me ask you first, and I'd like to just go down the row, whether each of you believes that nicotine is not addictive. I heard virtually all of you touch on it. Just yes or no. Do you believe nicotine is not addictive?

Mr. Campbell: (?) I believe nicotine is not addictive, yes.

Rep. Wyden: Mr. Johnston?

Mr. Johnston: Congressman, cigarettes and nicotine clearly do not meet the classic definitions of addiction. There is no intoxication.

Rep. Wyden: We'll take that as a no and, again, time is short. If you can just -- I think each of you believe nicotine is not addictive. We just would like t o have this for the record.

Mr. Taddeo: (?) I don't believe that nicotine or our products are addictive.

Mr. Horrigan (?) I believe nicotine is not addictive.

Mr. Tisch: (?) I believe that nicotine is not addictive.

Mr. Sandefur: (?) I believe that nicotine is not addictive.

Mr. Donald Johnston: (?) And I, too, believe that nicotine is not addictive.

 

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