WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The head of RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. said Friday that he intends to warn people in Third World countries of the dangers of smoking, even where warnings are not mandatory.
Indeed, RJR is already doing that in many such countries, a company spokesman said.
RJR chief Steven F. Goldstone joined a growing number of tobacco executives who have testified that cigarettes may be linked to cancer.
"I have always believed that smoking plays a part in causing lung cancer. What that role is, I don't know, but I do believe it," said Goldstone, a former smoker.
He made the comments during a deposition to Ron Motley, a lawyer for the state of Florida, which is the first of 40 states suing tobacco companies to bring a case to trial and is seeking $12.3 billion in damages. Jury selection is underway in the case.
Goldstone's sworn statement followed that given Thursday by Geoffrey Bible, chairman of Philip Morris Cos., who was the first company executive other than maverick tobacco chief Bennett LeBow to acknowledge a possible link between smoking and death.
Bible, head of the nation's largest cigarette maker, acknowledged that smoking "might have" killed 100,000 Americans.