#TBT: The Tobacco Industry is Grilled Before Congress

In 1994, seven big tobacco CEOs testified before Congress, claiming nicotine isn’t addictive — all under oath...

The relentless fight exposed tobacco’s decades of deceit

In 1994, 46 U.S. states sued the big tobacco companies for the recovery of Medicaid funds. That year, 7 big tobacco CEOs testified under oath before Congress. It wasn't until 1998 that the big tobacco companies finally admitted that nicotine is addictive — and that their products cause diseases like cancer. The tobacco companies agreed to pay out $246 billion over 25 years. That year, the companies were also ordered to declassify over 14 million internal corporate documents — known as the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. The public then learned that big tobacco had spent half a century hiding tobacco's toxicity.

Over the last four decades, no member of Congress has done more to improve the health and well-being of Americans than Henry Waxman. He is, and for 40 years has been, the most dedicated, influential and effective advocate for public health in the House of Representatives. Senior F.D.A. officials and strong opponents of tobacco in Congress had said that they did not want to ban cigarettes outright but that some way ought to be found to regulate them to lessen the health and safety dangers that they have posed for decades. Some tobacco company executives, who asked not to be named said privately that they could accept some regulation. This hearing, they said, became the opening of a discussion about the future for cigarettes in the United States.

The relentless fight exposed tobacco’s decades of deceit. Today, we take it for granted that most Americans understand the truth about the dangers of tobacco use and the deception of the industry. The sea change on smoking in our country wouldn’t have happened without the courage and tenacity of politicians like Henry Waxman. In the 20th century, tobacco killed 100 million people globally. More deaths than in WW1 and WW2.


10/10/2019 12:02 PMupdated: 10/10/2019 1:29 PM


  • Keki K.
    05/07/2020 10:10

    Dayum these CEOs are straight up gangstahs. 🤫 they believe that nicotine is not addictive 😎. They also believe that skittles comes from 🌈🤦🏽‍♂️

  • Steve C.
    10/31/2019 23:20

    I guess everyone here is avoiding the biggest question.What happened to the$246 billion over 25 years.So 2022 we should still be receiving $$ from the government.Right?????

  • David S.
    10/29/2019 22:12

    everybody knows the wealthy lie beyond belief for moneys sake

  • Kasim S.
    10/27/2019 02:39

    246 billion who exactly got that money lol?

  • Robert Y.
    10/24/2019 02:23

    And then they gave them their briefcases full of money...

  • Adam P.
    10/23/2019 11:25

    Perfectly legal for the taxes it revenues..... never believe the government is for the people as long as you see cigarettes on shelves.

  • Austin T.
    10/20/2019 13:59

    Bought them when I was 14 but not now that I'm 19... Stupid

  • Hannah C.
    10/19/2019 22:12

    Companies lying. How utterly shocking

  • Bryce W.
    10/16/2019 11:26

    If its not addictive then take it out for a while then see what happens

  • Antonio N.
    10/13/2019 01:40

    And thats the day they bought everyone in the building

  • Claire M.
    10/11/2019 23:58

    .....and so it goes....I can't believe this was only in 1994, yet we still allow awful stuff to make it onto store and pharmacy shelves.

  • Kevin J.
    10/11/2019 22:01

    They are clearly non smokers😂

  • Lucas S.
    10/11/2019 15:24

    Wait, a corporate businessman lied under oath to protect the business that lines their pockets with millions of dollars? Shocking

  • Marek V.
    10/11/2019 04:48

    "I believe that nicotine is not addictive" What kind of statement is that? They can believe in what they want, so if they said that they believe in unicorns, it wouldnt be a lie... O_o

  • Michael S.
    10/11/2019 04:35

    WOW how much money did it cost them to sell their souls?

  • Chuck A.
    10/10/2019 17:18

    So they all lied to congress, not one on jail

  • Veshu G.
    10/10/2019 15:34


  • Luis F.
    10/10/2019 15:28


  • Karen Z.
    10/10/2019 15:14

    MORE LIES!!!!!!

  • Elgar F.
    10/10/2019 15:03

    I also thought like they do, until angioplasty got me