Too good to be true

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Too good to be true
In 1946, in an effort to sell more cigarettes, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company created a Medical Relations Division and advertised it in medical journals. This division produced the following ad with the slogan: “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” They’d solicited this “finding” by giving doctors a free carton of Camel cigarettes, and then asking what brand they smoked. By the mid-1950s, when tobacco companies had to confront good evidence that their products caused lung cancer, they decided to instead promote the idea that there's no proof of a cause between smoking and lung cancer. To reassure a frightened public they formed The Tobacco Industry Research Committee to investigate. In charge of this committee, "will be a scientist of unimpeachable integrity and national repute. In addition, there will be an Advisory Board of scientists disinterested in the cigarette industry. A group of distinguished men from medicine, science, and education will be invited to serve on this Board." (You can read the original document here). In hindsight, this all seems pretty transparent. A classic coverup to keep an industry alive, despite the facts. What's fascinating to me about this history is the knowledge that little has changed today. When we read reviews that feel a bit self-serving, or when we're told something that defies common sense actually works like magic, it probably behooves us to take a step back and check our sources of information. I recently received an advertisement for a new brush on fluid that works like magic to "lower distortion, remove brightness, and eliminate sonic grunge." When something is too good to be true it probably isn't.
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Paul McGowan

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