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Victor J. DeNoble, former research scientist for Philip Morris, will discuss the addictive nature of nicotine and the tobacco industry's attempt to hide health information from the public noon tomorrow in Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.

Free and open to the public, the talk is sponsored by Coalition for a Smoke-Free Valley and the Lafayette Chaplain's Office. Lunch may be brought or purchased for $3.

Coalition for a Smoke-Free Valley is a group of community organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the health status of the Lehigh Valley by reducing the prevalence of tobacco use through prevention, education, and advocacy.

DeNoble, an experimental psychologist, was a key witness in government hearings examining the practices of the tobacco industry. His testimony was an important part of the mounting evidence that ultimately led to a multi-billion dollar settlement. He testified before Congress in 1994, the Food and Drug Administration in 1995 and 1996, and former Vice President Gore's Tobacco Settlement Committee in 1997. DeNoble has appeared on each of the major network television news programs and has been featured on 60 Minutes, Dateline, and Good Morning America.

DeNoble headed a secret lab in Virginia for Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, from 1980 to 1984, where he led experiments on rats to explore the effects of nicotine on the brain and central nervous system. DeNoble has revealed how the lab developed a synthetic chemical that had the same desired effects as nicotine on the brain without the health risks. His work focused on developing a “safer cigarette” which also included special filters that reduced the cancerous affects of secondhand smoke by 80 percent. The scientist said the company never made the research public and repeatedly blocked him from disclosing any information about his research with the threat of a lawsuit.

In 1984, Philip Morris shut down the lab, hid the findings, and fired the scientists, for fear that if a healthier cigarette was produced, the tobacco industry, which had long denied the negative effects of nicotine, would be subject to lawsuits. Congressional hearings on the tobacco industry in 1994 made it possible for DeNoble to speak publicly about his work. More recent developments in the lawsuits waged by several states against the industry have also encouraged the scientist to speak out.

DeNoble received a Ph.D. in 1976 from Adelphi University. He has postdoctoral fellowships from both the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and the National Institute of Drug Abuse. He also worked in drug discovery for DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company and Ayerst Research Laboratories specializing in central nervous system diseases. He is vice president of Hissho, Inc., a scientific and medical communications company.

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