"Big Tobacco Wins Fire Marshals as Allies in Flame Retardant Push"

"The problem facing cigarette manufacturers decades ago involved tragic deaths and bad publicity, but it had nothing to do with cancer. It had to do with house fires. Smoldering cigarettes were sparking fires and killing people. And tobacco executives didn't care for one obvious solution: create a 'fire-safe' cigarette, one less likely to start a blaze."

"The industry insisted it couldn't make a fire-safe cigarette that would still appeal to smokers and instead promoted flame retardant furniture -- shifting attention to the couches and chairs that were going up in flames.

But executives realized they lacked credibility, especially when burn victims and firefighters were pushing for changes to cigarettes.

So Big Tobacco launched an aggressive and cunning campaign to 'neutralize' firefighting organizations and persuade these far more trusted groups to adopt tobacco's cause as their own. The industry poured millions of dollars into the effort, doling out grants to fire groups and hiring consultants to court them."

Patricia Callahan and Sam Roe report for the Chicago Tribune May 8, 2012, in the second part of a three-part investigative series.


"Tribune Watchdog: "Playing With Fire" Series Portal

"Fear Fans Flames for Chemical Makers" (Part 1)

"Distorting Science" (Part 3)

"Testing Shows Treated Foam Offers No Safety Benefit" (Chicago Tribune)

"Big Tobacco Wins Fire Marshals as Allies in Flame Retardant Push" (Part 2)

"Video: the Truth About Flame Retardants" (Chicago Tribune)

Source: Chicago Tribune, 05/09/2012