Sept 23, 1999

WASHINGTON On Dec. 15, 1953, a cloudy and windy day in New York City, top executives of the nation's tobacco companies met at the Plaza Hotel to confront what they considered a crisis: studies showing a link between cigarettes and cancer.

They acted quickly. Less than three weeks later, they issued a "frank" statement insisting there was "no proof' that smoking causes lung cancer. "We believe the products we make are not injurious to health," they said.

That meeting, according to a groundbreaking Clinton administration lawsuit filed Wednesday against tobacco companies, began a
decades-long campaign to deceive the public about the health risks of smoking. The lawsuit, citing newly disclosed industry documents, says the industry knew even 45 years ago that smoking was deadly.

[Editor: A conspiracy among respected leaders of and industry not to reveal their product caused cancer, impossible. Lucky for us this must be the only industry where corporations put their profits first. Note the recent date of this report.]