Tobacco exec: No consensus about cigarette smoke
September 29, 1997
Web posted at: 11:27 p.m. EDT (0327 GMT)
MIAMI (CNN) -- Scientists cannot agree on which specific
ingredients of cigarette smoke are harmful, a tobacco
industry executive testified Monday at the secondhand smoke
trial initiated by flight attendants.
"It's my opinion that there's never been scientific consensus
about what's in cigarette smoke -- if anything should be
reduced or removed," said Dr. David Townsend, vice president
for product development for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Under questioning by a tobacco industry attorney, Townsend
testified that levels of benzopyrene, a known carcinogen
found in tobacco, was present in minute levels, at about 50
billionths per gram.
Townsend said that higher levels of the carcinogen could be
found in some food and water, and that an 8-ounce
charcoal-broiled steak may contain "somewhere in the
neighborhood of 600 cigarettes worth."
The plaintiffs are 60,000 non-smoking flight attendants who
claim that breathing secondhand smoke while they worked
aboard jetliners gave them smoking-related cancer and other
illnesses. They are suing for $5 billion.
The defense is in the second week of presenting its case. The
trial is expected to last another three weeks.