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January 24, 1996

The AMA, Tobacco, and the Public Health

Author Affiliations

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota St Paul

JAMA. 1996;275(4):277-278. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530280028023

To the Editor.  —Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSM) is the only corporation in America that has engaged the tobacco industry in litigation over issues of smoking and health. BCBSM seeks, among other things, damages from the cigarette manufacturers for the cost of health care services it has purchased that resulted from smoking. Unlike earlier individual smoker lawsuits, our litigation is focused on the conduct of the tobacco companies. The lawsuit, commenced in 1994, breaks new ground, charging the cigarette manufacturers with the following: (1) suppression of publication of the results of research that the industry conducted or sponsored, in violation of a duty assumed at least as early as the publication of the industry's full-page newspaper advertisement that ran across the United States on January 6, 1954 (unpublished information, January 15, 1954, Hill & Knowlton, New York, NY); (2) restraint of trade in violation of Minnesota antitrust