“If Our Product Is Harmful . . . We’ll Stop Making It.”

I’m used to hearing the argument that, sure, cigarettes are addictive, but everyone has known forever that smoking caused cancer, and that cigarette manufacturers could hardly be blamed for supplying a consumer good that many people wanted. So I was surprised to learn the following, from historian Robert Proctor:

It’s interesting to see that, at least in public, cigarette executives taking a much more direct position that they did not want to be in the position of giving people cancer: “If our product is harmful . . . we’ll stop making it.”

Further background (including the cartoon of Fred Flintstone smoking) at the sister blog.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.