Tue AM: Judith Ivey

November 16, 2004 2:56 pm by Gene Borio

DOJ Lawyer Sharon is cross examining Judith Ivey on 2 of the DOJ’s “pillars:” Marketing to children and denying/minimizing information on the adverse health effects of smoking, in this case secondhand smoke.

A small woman with short-cropped brown/blonde hair, Ms. Ivey perched birdlike on the witness stand, alert and poised, answering questions directly and often with an eager-to-please smile. At 46, she has a rather narrow face with little apparent wear and tear; seen from the side, she has a strong jaw and chin. She spoke in a soft, husky voice, pronouncing her t’s so distinctly I at first thought she’d picked up a British accent. But mostly on display was her intelligence and sales/marketing training and expertise in being just plain personable.

Ms. Eubanks began by attempting to get Ms. Ivey’s impression of the liability of the new company, Reynolds American, would be subject to should the DOJ win its case.

There was some confusion over the asking of the question, and Judge Kessler finally asked,
So is it accurate to say that the new company would assume responsibility for the total liability imposed on Brown and Williamson and RJR? Ms. Ivey said that was her understanding.

Ms. Eubanks tried to pin down the exact differences between B&W’s and RJR’s statements on secondhand smoke on their respective websites.

I for one don’t see much of a difference, with both sites referring causation positions to the public health communities, and also including the companies’ own departures from that position:

From the B&W site:

Public health authorities have concluded that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), also called secondhand smoke, is a cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases. In addition, ETS has been associated with several respiratory disorders in young children as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). . . . In our opinion and in the opinion of others, however, there are legitimate scientific questions concerning the extent of the chronic health risks of ETS. See, for example, www.acsh.org.

From the RJR site:

For years, numerous government and public health organizations, including the U.S. Surgeon General in 1986, have concluded and broadly communicated that exposure to secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in nonsmoking adults, and that it is associated with asthma, respiratory infections and other serious conditions in children. . . . Reynolds Tobacco believes that: . . . . It seems unlikely that secondhand smoke presents any significant harm to otherwise healthy nonsmoking adults. http://www.rjrt.com/TI/TIsecondhand_smoke.asp

Ms. Ivey said the new Reynolds American was developing the new company’s position, and that it would be put on site within the next 2-3 weeks. Ms. Eubanks almost succeeded in getting Ms. Ivey to realease to the DOJ RA’s new positions, but Mr. Bernick’s quick objection squelched that plan.

So the line of questioning didn’t seem to get far.

Nor did the line regarding the perceived difference in B&W documents between “starters” and “switchers.” A definition of “starters” was needed, but never nailed down.

The unreliability of a magazine’s own determination of “adult subscribers,” however, was pretty well established, and indicated little relationship to real underage readership figures.

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