News and Events

Tobacco Industry Whistle-Blower, Dr. Victor DeNoble, Visits Marion County
September 15, 2014

On Monday, September 15, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County and the Marion County SWAT youth hosted presentations by Victor J. DeNoble, Ph.D. at the PACE Center for Girls, Community Council Against Substance Abuse, and at the Boys & Girls Club of Marion in Ocala.

Victor J. DeNoble, Ph.D. has been giving presentations to youth and adults for nearly two decades.  His compelling story starts when he was recruited to develop a safer cigarette for Philip Morris in the 1980’s. In his secret research laboratory, he studied nicotine’s effects on the central nervous system and was successful in developing a nicotine substitute that did not elevate the heart rate; however, attempts to publish his work were suppressed by Philip Morris. Dr. DeNoble was eventually fired, his laboratory was shuttered, and his research was seized.

In 1994, after a decade of being silenced by a secrecy agreement, he became the first whistle blower to testify before Congress and was a key witness in the federal government’s investigation into the tobacco industry’s research practices and misinformation campaigns.

Victor DeNoble
The youth at PACE Center for Girls and Boys & Girls Club were amazed by the presentation which included some of the evidence that proves nicotine changes the human brain.  They were particularly surprised when Dr. DeNoble brought out actual monkey and human brain specimens for them to see.  The students learned about the tactics that the tobacco industry uses to lie to their customers and how it continues to develop and sell tobacco products aimed at attracting kids. Dr. DeNoble explained that their brains will not know if the nicotine comes from a traditional cigarette, spit tobacco, or an electronic cigarette. By using candy flavors and advertisements at child eye level, these products are being marketed to kids as future customers.

In the afternoon, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County teamed up with the Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse at their monthly meeting to hold a public forum so that all residents of Marion County could have an opportunity to see Dr. DeNoble’s presentation.  He gave a very informative presentation that reviewed his experience with the tobacco industry, but also gave visuals on how most drugs, including alcohol and nicotine, change the endorphin levels in the brain which turns drug use into an addiction.  

CCASA Meeting

For more information about the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership in Marion County, contact the group at info@tfp-marion.org.