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Industry Documents Expose Nordic Tobacco Companies' Conspiratorial Behavior
In the 1970s, Nordic countries were among the first to adopt policies against tobacco, like bans on cigarette advertising, health warning labels and smoke-free laws, but U.S.-owned tobacco companies, and particularly Philip Morris, makers of Marlboro, became concerned such polices could spread to America and other developed countries where they sold cigarettes. Also, Europe's first product liability case against the tobacco industry occurred in Finland in 1988, when a smoker sued several companies claiming their products caused his illness, causing even more concern for global tobacco companies. To help escape product liability claims, Nordic tobacco companies -- like Amer Tobacco and Rettig, which distributed Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds brands, respectively -- long claimed to be ignorant of, and denied participation in the multinational tobacco companies' global strategies to undermine anti-tobacco policies, but industry documents reveal the truth -- that smaller Nordic tobacco companies did, in fact, participate in the multinational companies’ long-time conspiracy to deny the health dangers of smoking and undermine anti-tobacco policies, helping delay key effective tobacco control measures, and particularly smoke-free laws, for years.