Steven F. Goldstone is the Chief Executive Officer of RJ Reynolds, the
second largest cigarette maker in the United States. Goldstone joined RJ
Reynolds in 1995 after having been a corporate attorney in New York for 25
Q. You've been quoted in newspapers as saying that under your
stewardship, you intend to make Reynolds uh--to instill a new sense of
corporate culture in Reynolds. Do you recall making that
A. Actually [talk over each other].
Q. Well, is it true?
A. Uh, Mr. Miley, I think that managers today at Reynolds understand that,
that company has to accept responsibility uh and conduct itself in a
responsible manner and to that extent, I'm satisfied that they are doing that
Q. Mr. Cosco, do you agree that in the past Reynolds managers, not under
your helm, have made mistakes that have impacted adversely on public
A. I can't say that, Mr. Miley. The only thing I--and I know you were
going to go through a lot of this, but in fairness to me, really, I've been in
this company a year and a half. I know there are lawsuits surrounding the
conduct of this company.
I talked to my lawyers about it a lot. I understanding there are ranging
debates in these cases, including this one you have in Florida, but I, I don't
have judgments to make. I'm not interested in the past. That's something for
you and the judges and the juries to figure out. For me, it's going forward in
the future and how we conduct ourselves in the future.
Q. Well, if you're going to conduct yourself differently in the future
than obviously you're going to make some changes, correct?
A. What is said to you is that we're going to conduct ourselves
responsibly. I'd like to think our company conducted itself responsibly in all
circumstances in the past, but that is what the subject of this litigation in
Florida's all about.
Q. As the calls came [unintelligible]?
A. Well, it's a, it's a complicated question for me, uh, and I hope you'll
give me a second.
Q. You take all the time you want, sir.
A. Answer that one for you, because um, for myself, and this is just my own
personal opinion. I have been in this world for 51 years. I'm not a
scientist, but I, I do believe that uh today that uh cigarette smoking play
plays a role in causing lung cancer. Um and uh I'm in the job I'm in and I
believe that uh, uh the State of Florida, the government of the State of
Florida, I think most people on your side of the table, I believe the President
of the United States and I believe everyone in Congress and I believe most
Americans believe that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. And all of those
people, Florida, the Governor, the President, the Congress, has decided against
Prohibition. They've decided that American adults, with free information and
with good information, ought to be able to make their own choice.
Politically, I personally believe in that. I believe in that very much.
I think it's one of the most important principles that we have in this country,
but uh, if Mr. Schindler uh--if it became a revelation for him and he decided
he shouldn't uh participate in the business anymore, I could understand
completely. But I, I, for me, today, sitting here, if a scientist could
connect the scientific gaps, fill in the scientific gaps, that would not be a
revelation to me uh that uh cigarette smoking somehow was found to cause
cancer. Um, that's not a shock to me. I don't think it's a shock to almost
any American today. So, that's where I am on that.
I will tell you this. Um, I was watching on CNN this morning and saw
some--one of the universities, uh, one of the scientists thought that they had
discovered what it was, the mechanism [unintelligible] cause from smoking to
lung cancer. And Lord knows, I hope they do and if they do, um, these tobacco
companies damn well better work like lunatics to figure out how to improve
their products. I could be, it would great for all Americans to understand
cancer more and I think it would be great for all Americans to understand
cancer more and I think it would be important for this industry to do
And the other thing, Mr. Motley on that, is this time, this industry will
work hand in hand with the government and will work uh cooperatively on terms
of medical research, but um denying basis uh truths, medical truths, is not
what the industry will do, at least not what R.J. Reynolds tobacco company will
Q. I take it, sir, then you do accept that cigarette smoking is a cause of
disease in humans?"
Goldstone: "I will tell you because I'm not a scientist, and I
respect the views of our scientist in our company who very compellingly
explained to me why there are gaps in scientific knowledge. But I've only been
in this company a couple of years. I was a smoker myself at one time, and I
have always believed-- rightly or wrongly, I have always believed that smoking
plays a role in causing lung cancer. What that role is, I have no idea, but I
do believe that."
Motley: "So your answer to my question is yes?"
Goldstone: "Yes, sir."
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