New book chronicles the historic racketeering case against ‘Big Tobacco’

Date: May 21 2012

Contact: Media Relations, (202) 777-2509

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2012 — A riveting new book published by APHA Press, Bad Acts: The Racketeering Case Against the Tobacco Industryprovides a first-hand account by attorney Sharon Eubanks who led the U.S. Justice Department in its historic, six-year case against the tobacco industry for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The book is co-authored by Stanton Glantz, American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control, and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

The Department of Justice, during the Clinton administration, filed a racketeering suit against the major cigarette manufacturers and sought to hold the tobacco industry accountable for $280 billion in penalties on the grounds that the industry deceived the public about the dangers of smoking.

Bad Acts tells the story, not yet fully revealed, of what was happening behind-the-scenes at the Department of Justice as the case approached victory, when the Bush administration intervened, with some success, to protect “Big Tobacco.” The book examines the political influences and interferences of both Clinton Democrats and George W. Bush Republicans. It is a candid behind-the-scenes account of how the case was put together, how the industry attempted to halt the case and how it ultimately was won by the Justice Department.

This tell-all book reveals how the tobacco industry conspired to form an enterprise to sell cigarettes, market them to youth and, even worse, lie about marketing their products to youth. They lied about the harms of second-hand smoke and doctored science to serve their purposes, intentionally destroying documents. Their lawyers engaged in fraud and assisted the companies with false marketing. 

When questioned in a recent interview by Sound Medicine about what she felt was the worst thing the tobacco industry did, Eubanks replied, “The most heinous thing they did is that they went after the children. Restlessly, knowing full-well cigarette products addicted people, and children being no exception. They preyed on youth so masterfully and intently. To me, that is the worst thing they did.”

In response to what the case accomplished, Eubanks said, “The case produced published information about the conduct of an industry that can be used in advocacy efforts, set forth by a neutral fact-finder — a federal judge, in this case. The case led to FDA regulation, as an important thing to have.” 

Listen to the Sound Medicine podcast with Eubanks; read the recent Public Health Newswire Q&A with the author; and subscribe to the Bad Acts Facebook fan page

Book Ordering Information: Available starting late May/early June, Published by APHA Press, Bad Acts: The Racketeering Case Against the Tobacco Industry, Item #978-087553-0178, APHA member price: $19.95 (non-member price: $28.50), plus shipping and handling. To order, call toll-free 888-320-APHA; fax 888-361-APHA; e-mail APHA press or visit the APHA Bookstore.

Requests for a review copy should be sent by email to David Hartogs.

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