Raymond H Rigdon

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

Raymond H Rigdon almost always used only his initials R.H. Rigdon. He was a professor of pathology who worked for decades for the Tobacco industry. He did so while at (1) the University of Texas, Medical Branch in Galverson, while on the teaching staff of (2) Vanderbilt Medical School, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and at the (3) University of Arkansas Medical School. Also probably at (4) Duke University.

He was a close associate of Eleanor Macdonald and he continued to serve the tobacco industry after his retirement from the University of Texas.

Documents & Timeline

1957 A series of newspaper clippings expressing the optimistic view that a less hazardous cigarette can be produced.

He suggested that an effective filter, removal of the waxy coating from the raw tobacco, reduction of the burning temperature of cigarette tobacco and general moderation of smoking habits should, in combination, be highly effective.
  • July 20 Dr RJ Rigdon, Pathology at Uni of Texas School of Medicine.
He says the existing information is not enough to justify the conclusion that cigarette smoking increases the lung cancer rate. [2]

1965 This is a Philip Morris draft defence document outlining the position of the tobacco industry in countering the proposal requiring cigarette companies to add warning lables to their packets. It mentions the wording on the Italian label proposals. They are reacting to the fall-out from the 1964 Surgeon-General's Report into Smoking & Health the year before. It suggests that the reader " "see the statements of the witnesses listed on the attached sheet as Statisticians, Epidemiologists and BioStatisticians, particularly Prof Brownlee." "

The document has a number of lists of specialists who can be called upon to support the tobacco industry in a Congressional hearing (divided by specialist category)

Reliable tobacco industry witnesses.
Statistician, Epidemiologists, Biostatisticians
Prof K Alexander Brownlee Mr Alan S Donnahoe Dr Leonard A Katz,
Dr George L Saiger Mr Darrell Huff Dr Theodor D Sterling
Dr Thomas J Moran, Dr Douglas H Sprunt, Dr William B Ober
Dr Raymond H Rigdon Dr Ferdinand C Helwig Dr William H Carnes
Dr Harry SN Greene Sheldon C Sommers,
Chest Physicians
Dr Milton S Rosenblatt Dr Alvis E Greer Dr Israel Rappaport
Thoracic Surgeons
Dr John H Mayer Jr Dr Duanne Carr Dr Raymond J Barrett
Dr Hiram T LangstonDr Thomas H Burford
Dr Harold G Tabb Dr Joseph H Ogura Dr Alden H Miller
Dr George A Sisson Dr Louis H Cleft
Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases
Dr Joseph B Wolffe Dr Henry I Russek Dr Sigmund L Wilens
Dr Sherman Kaplan Dr Henry E McMahon
Dr L Henry Garland
General Surgeons
Dr Ian G Macdonald Dr Jack M Farris
Psychosomatic Medicine
Dr Bernice C Sachs
Dr William JE Crissy Prof Frank M Bass Dr Darrell B Lucas
Dr John J Kennedy Dr Charles Winick
CTR's Clarence Cook Little & Robert C Hockett;
RJ Reynolds' Bowman Gray and (Code tzar) Robert B Meyner [3]


1965 Apr 6 to May 4 A congressional hearings of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce -- Bill to require warning lables plus tar and nicotine content on packs.

Dozens of scientist employed by the tobacco industry were turned out to give evidence. Rigdon said:

I have placed large amounts [of benzpyrene] in the lungs of ducks and have not observed any cancers.

[Rigdon's speciality was experimenting on "Peking Ducks"]

As far as I know, lung cancer has not been produced in any animal that inhaled cigarette smoke. I did not obtain tumors when tobacco tars were put directly into the lungs of ducks. It is interesting to know that tobacco-tar when put on the skin of mice will produce a skin cancer. I put a cancer-producing agent, methylcholanthrene, on the skin of a duck and got many different types of tumors, but when the same agent was put on the shin of the turkey one type of tumor resulted. Now there is not much difference in the skin of the duck and turkey, but there is lots of differeuce in the skin of a mouse and the respiratory tract of man.

Last year the Federal Trade Commission solicited my comments on their proposed "Trade Regulation Rules." In my reply I disagreed with their Iabel proposal and pointed out that I do not think the statemeut "Cigarette smoking is dangerous to health. It may cause death from caucer and othcr diseases" is correct. [4]

[Horace Kornegay, who later became President of the Tobacco Institute, was one of the House Committee querying these scientists.]

1966 Oct 4 Revealing hand-notes by Robert Hockett about the CTR Special Project grants -- who had received money, who had made reports, etc. Many pages are attached to a note from Theodor Sterling

See [CTR staff studies] Also see second
Review with bibliography of literature pertaining to the occurrence in animals of the various types of lung cancer occurring in man.
[The handnote says:]
A literature review has been completed in a form that makes this information readily available, but not in the form that might be suitable for publication, by Miss Dorothea Bevilacqua of the CTR staff. Whether this should be edited for publication as a CTR Monograph or shaped for some journal by a selected authority remains to be determined. (Waller (or) Rigdon)


[Clearly both Waller and Raymond Rigdon were OK with having their names used on to a report they hadn't prepared.]

1968 Feb 13 The advertising/PR strategy firm, Tiderock Corporation run by Rosser Reeves is involved in preparing a "Big Book" for the Tobacco Institute They were planning to have Macmillan approach the people independently. [Presumably with no mention of tobacco industry involvement for the anti-tobacco scientists. Those listed on the first three pages, have been PAIRED -- with one PRO-tobacco and one ANTI -- yet both are in the same scientific discipline.
The idea obviously was to play off the quotes, one against the other, to promote the idea that there was still scientific doubt about the dangers of cigarettes, since the scientists couldn't agree.
See the original document for full list]

The next two pages hold a list of tobacco-associates and known tobacco-friendly scientists who always supported the tobacco industry (but who are not included in the paired list). These were regular grant-takers and commissioned scientist who made a business from promoting the industry and could be safely used as witnesses, or be paid to produce published propaganda material. Everyone on this list has taken pro-tobacco positions.

[The last two pages hold a list of known tobacco industry critics and antagonists. Those on this list have taken an anti-smoking position and are NOT on the list below]
DrRaymond J Barrett,     Dr William N Carnes, Dr Louis H Cleft,
Dr l Henry Garland ('late')     Hans J Eysenck,   Dr Alvis Greer,
Dr Ferdinand Helwig, Dr William C Heuper, Dr Charles Kensler,
Dr Hiram T Langston, Dr Israel Rappaport, Dr Stanley P Reimann,
Dr Raymond N Rigdon, Dr Milton S Rosenblatt, Dr Bernice C Sachs,
Dr Boris Sokoloff, Dr Douglas M Sprunt, Dr Percy Stocks,
Dr Harold G Tabb.
PRO-SMOKERS: This industry helper has been listed as:
Dr R.H. Rigdon Professor of Pathology, University of Texas Medical 3ranch, Galveston, Texas[6]


1969 Feb An Editorial in Southern Medical Journal [Quoting an earlier editorial c 1959] makes the point that with statistical links... : "Such relationsips are a necessary but not sufficient condition to establish, 'beyond a shadow of a doubt' that the relation is true when in fact a causal relation does exist."

He then quotes the opinions (and articles) of the infamous Carl Seltzer and RH Rigdon <font color-green[both tobacco lackeys] as support for the 'causal doubt' theory of statistics. [7]