Operation Berkshire

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Operation Berkshire was the name tobacco industry executives gave to a series of meetings held in the mid-1970's between the multinational cigarette companies of the U.S. and Europe in which the companies agreed to unite to fight social and political trends that were reducing nicotine consumption worldwide. Ideas included mounting a program of "smoker reassurance" and performing joint research into the benefits of smoking. The meeting was attended by representatives of British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, R .J. Reynolds, Reemstma, Rothmans International, and Imperial Tobacco.[1]

Brief minutes from the first Operation Berkshire meeting contain a concession from Imperial Tobacco that it "accepts that some adverse health effects are caused by smoking." The paper goes on to say that "Acting 'responsibly,' they have sought to co-operate with the authorities," (the word 'responsibly' is sarcastically set off in quotation marks.)

Tony Garrett, the head of Imperial Tobacco, at this meeting "by implication rather than direct admission, made concessions in the areas of Lung Cancer, Pregnancy and to a lesser extent, Coronary Heart Disease."

Philip Morris (PM) wanted to assure that "full security cover be maintained for future meetings." PM took on the task of investigating anti-smoking bodies, their philosophies, functions and funding. One company was assigned the task of finding out what factors were affecting the decline in social acceptability of smoking, and was to

3. To examine such counter-measures as have been used. 4. To recommend the counter measures to be used.

This document shows that the major tobacco manufacturers of the world united to defeat public health measures to reduce smoking, and encourage the further spread of nicotine addiction despite knowledge that their products cause cancer, risks to pregnancy and cardiovascular disease

Information on this project was first posted to the Internet on February 2, 2000.
Document Date 19770608
Bates Number 2025024797/4803
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 7
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zjc35e00

Additional documents on Operation Berkshire

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Also search for documents on Operation Berkshire at the British American Tobacco Document Archive

  1. United States Department of Justice DOJ SUPP PART 2 - Pages 101-200.PDF Email attachment. 100 pp. March 26, 2004. Bates No. 5001054481/5001054580, at pp. 110