Theodore H Blau

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

Theodore Blau (often called both 'Ted' and 'Theo' in tobacco industry documents), was a psychologist and self-described 'Addiction expert' who had an independent practice as a clinical psychologist in Florida. He was also with the Medical School of the University of South Florida, where he said he'd been involved in studying the psychological aspects of cigarette smoking. When giving testimony for the tobacco industry he obviously doesn't believe smoking is addictive. He specialized in clinical child psychology and was a past president of the American Psychological Association.

For most of the 1980s Blau was a Council for Tobacco Research Special Projects Researcher.(N.M. Tobacco Companies Personnel List) He also acted as a recruiter and adviser to help the industry identify other psychiatrists or psychologists who might be persuaded by money to testify that nicotine wasn't addictive ... "just habit forming". He has testified repeatedly on behalf of the tobacco industry.


Theodore H. Blau was born March 3, 1928 in Huntington, West Virginia. He received his M.S. in psychology in 1949 from Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D in psychology in 1951, also from Pennsylvania State University. He was a Post-Doctoral Trainee in Clinical Psychology from 1951-1952 at U.S. Veteran's Administration Hospital at Perry Point, Maryland.[2]

Dr. Blau was considered an expert on "addiction." Blau testified repeatedly before the U.S. Congress that "the smoking of tobacco is a habit not an addiction."(Tobacco Control 1992). In 1991, He told a Senate committee that while an addictive drug causes intoxication, smokers "are always able to reason without interference from their habit." He also testified that "people who believe that smoking is an addiction are less likely to quit than people who believe that smoking is a habit."

In early 1980s, he received tobacco industry funding to analyze and evaluate literature on the "tobacco habit," according to internal documents from British American Tobacco Industries, PLC's Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.

In 1995 the Wall Street Journal (Mar 23rd) recorded that Dr. Blau, aged 67, has run smoking-cessation classes for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. He testified that when he quit smoking after 24 years, he didn't suffer the kinds of cravings seen in alcohol rehabilitation. [1]

Documents & Timeline

1982 Oct 1 Blau was being paid by the Secret Projects "Special Account #4 handled by the lawyers, supposedly for "Analysis and evaluation of literature on the "tobacco habit" (their quotes) - $20,000.

[Reading the literature was a tobacco euphemism for being paid a retainer] [3]

1986 Feb 27 The five major lawfirms of the tobacco industry met to discuss the work each was doing to identify the best witnesses on 'Addiction' (their term) to be used when defending tobacco cases or giving evidence at hearings. [Of course they always denied that cigarettes were addictive .. just 'habit forming']

They reviewed evidence that about a dozen of their witnesses had given, and tried to narrow their list down to a few of the best. They said about this witness:

John Johnston (SH&B) thereafter discussed the testimony of Ted Blau as defendant's addiction expert in Galbraith (a product liability case). John stated that there was a discrepancy between how the attorneys saw Dr. Blau's testimony and how the jurors reported their reactions to Dr. Blau.

The attorneys felt Dr. Blau's testimony was very good while the jurors were unhappy with Blau's manner. John stated that this might reflect the nature of the Galbraith jury, which was a sophisticated panel because of the location of the trial and the judge's selection procedures. John reported that he personally felt Blau should have maintained a more serious demeanor and that Blau made some unwise comments.

On the whole, however, John felt that Dr. Blau's testimony was good and likely to be better than future defense addiction testimony, due to lack of preparation by the plaintiff's attorneys and the absence of a deposition of Blau.

Ted Blau has testified in Galbraith and is named in Palmer. He has a firm grasp of the literature but cannot be overutilized due to his five-year association with the industry. [4]

[NOTE: This document would normally be prohibited from release because of lawyer confidentiality. However because this meeting constituted a conspiracy, the court has compelled production]

1988 Jan 2 On January 2, 1988, Blau gave a deposition for the Cipollone v. Liggett et al case that was 318 pages long.[2]

1988 June The House of Representatives was considering two bills: HR 3294 - the Whittaker bill to "Restrict the Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors"

and HR 4793 the Slattery Amendment to the "Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act" required them to state that nicotine is addictive. A Tobacco Institute document "Witness/Consultnt Inventory" (which had been cleared by John Rupp of Covington & Burling) says:

"This memorandum provides an inventory of the witnesses and consultants who currently are available to the industry on major legislative and regulatory issues.

Addiction Warnings (HR 4793 - Slattery, HR 3294 - Whittaker)
Litigating counsel have identified the following potential witnesses in this area. All contact would be made through litigating counsel.

  • Theodore Blau, Ph.D., Psychologist, Tampa, Fla.
  • Rubin Bressler, M.D., Pharmacologist, Univ. of Arizona
  • A. James Giannini, M.D., Pharmacologist and Psychiatrist, Northeastern Ohio Univ.
  • Mark King, Ph.D., Psychologist, Univ. of Pittsburgh
  • J.N. Stubblebine, M.D., Psychiatrist and Neurologist, Greenbrae, Cal.


1988 July 29 Blau appeared on behalf of the Tobacco Institute before the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment about the Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction, regarding regulation of R.J. Reynolds's "smokeless" cigarette.

1989 May 19 Shook Hardy & Bacon are billing the Tobacco Institute companyes (separately) for Professional services and expenses in developing new witnesses on Addiction. They are being advised by Drs Theodore Blau Herbert Freudenberger (both paid via Special Accounts #4) The total fees are $24,598.75 with $8,199.08 expenses to interview 13 new possibilities, and JN Stubblebine, who has been reviewed before. [6]

1989 July 21 Another Shook Hardy & Bacon invoice for Addiction - Witness Development. The charge for telephone conferernces and review material with Theodore Blau. Fees Due $19,832 + $6,644 expenses. [[7]


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  1. (Tobacco Dream Team: Expert Who Insist Nicotine Isn't Addictive, WSJ 3/23/95)
  2. (PMI's Revised Initial Disclosure, June 27, 1996)