Government Efforts

An outline of the major attempts by Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the President to regulate or control the tobacco industry.

1964U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issues the first surgeon general report citing health risks associated with smoking.

1965U.S. Congress passes the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, requiring a surgeon general's warning on cigarette packs.

1971All broadcast advertising for cigarettes is banned.

1972Philip Morris's Marlboro becomes the best-selling brand in the world.

1982U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop finds that secondhand smoke may cause lung cancer.
1990Smoking is banned on U.S. passenger flights of less than six hours' duration.
1992The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the 1965 warning labels on cigarette packs does not shield companies from lawsuits.
Feb 1994FDA Commissioner David Kessler announces plans to consider regulation of tobacco as a drug, stating that tobacco manufacturers use nicotine to satisfy addiction.

3/25/94David Kessler testifies about tobacco and nicotine in Congressional hearings.

4/14/94Seven tobacco company executives testify during Rep. Henry Waxman's congressional hearings that they believe "Nicotine is not addictive."

May 1994Scruggs hand carries Brown & Williamson internal documents to Waxman in Washington.

5/7/94New York Times publishes Brown & Williamson internal documents, saying they were received by a government official.

5/12/94Stan Glantz at the University of California receives Brown & Williamson internal documents from "Mr. Butts."

5/18/94Whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (using the code name "Research") pays his first visit to Dr. Kessler's office at the FDA.

6/21/94David Kessler testifies in Congressional hearings about the investiation wether tobacco and niotine should be regulated by the FDA.

7/1/95Stanton Glantz posts the Brown & Williamson documents on the Internet.

12/96RJR hires North Carolina lawyer Phil Carlton to lobby the White House and try to meet with Mississippi Attorney General Michael Moore.

2/97Phil Carlton meets with White House deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey.

2/97The tobacco industry argues in U.S. district court in Greensboro, N.C., that the FDA does not have the power to regulate tobacco.

4/25/97U.S. District Judge William Osteen in Greensboro, NC, rules that the FDA has the authority to regulate nicotine as a drug. The tobacco industry immediately appeals the ruling.

6/20/97The tobacco companies and state attorneys general announce a landmark $368.5 billion settlement agreement.

July 1997Congress includes a $50 billion tobacco-tax credit in a new tax bill. New taxes paid by smokers will save the industry billions of dollars by reducing the amount of money companies would owe according to the settlement.

9/11/97Senate votes to repeal the $50 billion tax break for the tobacco industry that was slipped into the tax cut legislation just before it was passed in July.

9/17/97Clinton announces his position on the upcoming tobacco legislation in Congress.

12/4/97Cong. Bliley subpoenaes documents from four tobacco companies that are part of the Minnesota Medicaid case. The documents are released to his office and to the public later that week.

12/10/97Hearings in Congressional Judiciary Committee on Lawyers Fees in the national tobacco settlement.

1/29/98Tobacco executives testify before Congress that nicotine is addictive under current definitions of the word and smoking may cause cancer.

2/25/98Tobacco executives told Congress they would never agree to modify their advertising and marketing practices unless the lawmakers gave the industry substancial protection against lawsuits.

4/1/98Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) passes the McCain bill in the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill gives the FDA unrestricted control over nicotine and is much tougher than the June 20th agreement. It provides no liability protection for the industry, just a cap on potential yearly damages.

4/8/98Steven Goldstone of RJR Nabisco announces that RJR is pulling support for a settlement and complains that the McCain bill will bankrupt his company. Within hours, the rest of the tobacco industry backs away from the global settlement.


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