Newspaper article The Florida Times Union
Historian to Retrace U.S. View of Smoking
Long before the surgeon general linked smoking to lung cancer,
it was common knowledge that cigarettes were dangerous, a
historian will tell a Jacksonville jury today.
Lacy Ford told a Jacksonville jury yesterday in a wrongfuldeath
case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. that he's studied the
common knowledge Americans had of smoking and health.
Ford, a University of South Carolina history professor, said
he's reviewed Jacksonville newspapers, magazines, Duval County
school books and public opinion polls. That information showed
him what average people -- including a deceased Jacksonville
smoker at the heart of this case -- knew at a given time.
Ford, who is testifying on behalf of the tobacco company, is
expected to say that years before warnings appeared on cigarette
packs, most people believed cigarette smokers were endangering
"Common knowledge is communal knowledge . . . not what any
individual has read from any source. It's broadly known," he
Ford is the third defense witness in the case for Reynolds,
which is being sued by the survivors of a heavy smoker who died
in 1995 at age 49. Jean Connor began smoking at age 14 or 15 in
the early 1960s. She smoked two to three packs a day of
Reynolds' Winston and Salem brand cigarettes for 22 years.
Jurors have already heard from a Reynolds cigarette designer,
who testified that the Winston-Salem, N. …