International Herald Tribune, June 23  Washington Post

One Big Battle May Be Won, But Tobacco War Is Far From Over
By Marc Fisher and John Schwartz
Washington Post Service

	WASHINGTONThe challenge is monumentalthe
dismantling of a culture. Using money, media and medicine, anti
smoking forces are trying to undo the work of centuries of literature
and seven decades of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, to eliminate
the automatic connection between a kiss and a curling column of
smoke, between a shout of rebellion and the flick of a butt.
	The tobacco industry is willing to bet $368.5 billion that links
so deeply embedded in the collective consciousness simply cannot be
broken. The settlement between the tobacco industry and state
attorneys general, though far from final, may turn out to be "the most
historic public health achievement in history," as the Mississippi
attorney general, Michael Moore, called it. But antitobacco activists,
cigarette makers and historians of the habit say such hyperbole is
premature: The future of the cigarette is largely shrouded in smoke.
	From C. Everett Koop, the former surgeon general, to the
historian Richard Kluger, those who have studied the savvy seductions
and addictions that make up the culture of smoking say the deal is no
panacea, but may well be a turning point.
	"Viewed from 35,000 feet, this is the biggest effort ever to
regulate a recalcitrant industry " Dr. Koop said. "Will it be good for
public healthy Yes. The Tobacco Institute will be gone, but the tobacco
lobby will still be there. And they will never stop."
	"Smoking ain't going to go away," said Mr. Kluger, whose
1996 chronicle of America's cigarette wars, "Ashes to Ashes,"
prescribes a settlement virtually identical to the one announced Friday.
"But the cigarette itself may become much less of a killer."
	The 68page agreementwhich still must be approved by
President Bill Clinton and Congressproposes to govern everything
from how much nicotine is in a cigarette to how much tobacco
cornpanies would have to pay in fines if teenage smoking does not
decline precipitously.
	By increasing cigarette prices as much as $1 a pack, the
companies would raise money to compensate smokers for cigarette
related illness, reimburse states for their smokingrelated medical
expenses, pay for health insurance for children who lack coverage and
finance antismoking campaigns. The plan would tag cigarette packs
with bigger, bolder warnings and drastically reduce the industry's
marketing, eliminating the Marlboro Man, Joe Camel, product
placement in movies and sponsorship of sports events.
	But the most audacious aim of the deal is to freeze and
eventually supplant the deep cultural affinity for tobacco in the United
States, to so stigmatize the cigarette that, 500 years after European
explorers picked up the habit from American Indians, the allure of
smoke would no longer symbolize individualism, sophistication and
	"The tobacco industry spent close to $50 billion in the past
20 years on image," said Gregory Connolly, the physician who is
director of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, the nation's
most aggressive public antismoking effort. "To think that a ban on Joe
Camel and billboards is going to undo that is naive. This is an
investment that's going to have a longterm effect."
	Under the agreement, the elimination of the addictive
chemical within tobacco will be possible in 12 years a development that
cigarette makers have warred against for decades, even as they quietly
prepared for it.
	A decade ago, Philip Morris Companies spent more than $300
million on a factory designed to remove nicotine from cigarettes much
like decaffeinating eliminates that drug from coffee. The resulting
product, DeNic, flopped in test marketing: Without the nicotine kick,
the cigarettes had all the appeal of smoking wheat.
	But in Chattanooga, Tennesse, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is
testing the opposite approach with Eclipseall the nicotine and almost
none of the carcinogens. Smokers say it tastes like an "ultralight"
brand and far better than the company's earlier lowsmoke effort, the
disastrous Premier.
	The new battlegrounds will be here pitting tobacco industry
financed public health campaigns against the industry's own new
productsand on the nicotine front.
	Reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettesand perhaps
eliminating it entirelymay create a new form of American addict,
antismoking activists warned. "We'll have nicotine addicts who rely on
the very things we use to wean people from smokingpatches, gum,
nasal sprays," Dr. Koop said. "But if you eliminate the smoke and the
carcinogens, you're ahead of the game."  From the perspective of the
tobacco companies, the settlementcoming after 33 years of
devastating publicity is a chance to cleanse their multinational,
diversified conglomerates of the lingering odor of cigarette smoke.
	In the case of Philip Morris, which makes everything from
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to Miller beer, more than half its business is
outside the United States. Tobacco provides a gusher of cash that
keeps the companies healthy. If the settlement dramatically reduces the
danger of massive judgments against the cigarette makers, their stocks
are expected to shoot up in value.
	And to counter the expected onslaught of antismoking
messages, the industry can rely on the proven staying power of this
century's procigarette images and slogans. Just think of the television
ads that are part of the American vocabulary 26 years after they were
	Some antismoking crusaders worry that warning labels and
educational ads may actually backfire. In Massachusetts, for example,
teenage smoking rose by 10 percent in the first three years of an
antismoking campaign.
	From the mid1970's decision by Johnny Carson to hide his
cigarette under his television desk, to the 1990s phenomenon of
smokers standing alone, staring into the sidewalks as they huddle
outside office buildings, the stigmatization of smoking has reached an
apparent zenith.
	The United States has become an "island of extremism" on
tobacco control said the chief executive of Philip Morris Geoffrey Bible.
Cigarette manufacturers are free to seek easier profits in more friendly
foreign markets, such as Europe, where airplanes and restaurants still
choked with smoke elicit nary a complaint, or Asia, where the smoking
population is still expanding.