SF Chronicle : Tobacco apostate setting the record straight

January 15, 2012 : By Hugh Hart

“Addiction Incorporated” follows the tobacco industry’s ongoing effort to sell cigarettes despite well-publicized health concerns. The tale is told through the eyes of Victor DeNoble. Formerly one of Philip Morris’ most valuable players, scientist DeNoble conducted lab experiments for the company before breaking his confidentiality agreement and going public about his secret research.

The film, by Charles Evans Jr., follows DeNoble as he travels the country giving grade-school talks about how cigarettes affect brain chemistry. DeNoble explains, “My focus is on elementary school kids and middle school kids because they’re the ones being targeted by the tobacco industry, even though the cigarette companies say they’re not. The kids ask great questions. They understand the science, which to me is very exciting.”

DeNoble describes himself as a “realist” regarding the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the FDA more control over cigarette packaging. “People ask me why is this product still being made when it causes death and disease, and I tell them, “Back up. Ask how far we’ve come in the past 20 years. … Public policy is not revolutionary. It’s evolutionary. It evolves over time. That’s what’s happening with tobacco regulation. My job is to make that time as short as possible.” {sbox}