ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Decades of tobacco industry internal documents reveal numerous acknowledgments of the addictiveness of smoking - the habit that one memo said gives the companies a need for ``a larger bag to carry the money.''
The documents, released for Minnesota's lawsuit against the industry, show cigarette makers researching the health effects of smoking and studying how to increase the nicotine kick for smokers.
But the state introduced dozens of memos and research documents generated by the tobacco companies, part of the library of millions of pages of documents the state amassed for the trial.
The state and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota seek reimbursement of $1.77 billion for Medicaid money spent treating smoking-related illnesses, plus perhaps billions more in punitive damages.
In 1972, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. researcher Claude Teague wrote a research planning memo in which he discussed nicotine as a potent drug with a variety of physiological effects.
``Happily for the tobacco industry, nicotine is both habituating and unique in its variety of physiological actions,'' he wrote.
By 1978, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. was talking about the addictive nature of tobacco.
``Very few consumers are aware of the effects of nicotine, i.e., its addictive nature and that nicotine is a poison,'' said a B memo signed H.D. Steele.
A 1983 B memo outlined ideas for research projects, including the relationship of nicotine levels to brand-switching by smokers.
``Nicotine is the addicting agent in cigarettes,'' researcher A.J. Mellman wrote.
``Other `drugs' such as marijuana, amphetamines and alcohol are slower and may be mood dependent,'' Greig said. He noted that smokers of low-tar cigarettes were compensating by smoking more. ``Where do we go from here? One obvious route is to give people more nicotine as tar is reduced.''
He quoted Oscar Wilde's 1891 novel, ``The Picture of Dorian Gray'': ``A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want.''
Greig then wrote: ``Let us provide the exquisiteness, and hope that they, our consumers, continue to remain unsatisfied. All we would want then is a larger bag to carry the money to the bank.''
Tobacco researchers appeared to acknowledge the link between smoking and lung cancer as early as 1958, as detailed in this memo after British-American Tobacco Co. sent three scientists to the United States and Canada to examine industry research.
``With one exception, the individuals whom we met believed that smoking causes lung cancer if by `causation' we mean any chain of events which leads finally to lung cancer and which involves smoking as an indispensable link,'' the researchers reported.
A BAT Co. memo in 1962 described the company's own studies of the effects of nicotine on the body. ``We now possess a knowledge of the effects of nicotine far more extensive than exists in published scientific literature,'' a company researcher wrote.
While many of the documents refer to the addictive quality of nicotine, heads of seven tobacco companies testified under oath before Congress in 1994 that they believed nicotine was not addictive.
On Thursday, several company executives went before a congressional committee and admitted that nicotine is addictive.
The admission came as tobacco executives argued on behalf of a $368.5 billion settlement they negotiated in June to end the individual state lawsuits.
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