W.House Rips Into Philip Morris Cancer Admission
- The White House Wednesday ripped into the acknowledgment by tobacco giant Philip Morris Cos. Inc. that there is a scientific consensus that smoking causes lung cancer and other deadly diseases.
Philip Morris reported in a revamped Web site as part of a corporate image campaign that ``there is an overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers.''
The company added that ``cigarette smoking is addictive, as that term is most commonly used today.''
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Philip Morris was acknowledging ``something the American public has known for a long time, and the admission today does very little to undo the deceptive practices that they've engaged in along with other tobacco companies, and that's something they'll have to answer to in court.''
The Justice Department filed a massive lawsuit on Sept. 22 against tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, seeking to recover much of the $20 billion spent by the federal government every year on smoking-related illnesses.
``This is something we've known for a long time -- the dangers of cigarette smoking, the addictiveness of cigarette smoking,'' Lockhart said.
The Clinton administration has been working to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate nicotine as a drug delivery system. It has proposed raising the tobacco tax by 55 cents a pack to generate revenue to treat smoking illnesses.
``Now that they've made this admission, maybe they'll work with us rather than against us, and maybe they'll spend $50 million next year on keeping kids from smoking rather than trying to influence Congress,'' said Lockhart.