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3-page document: RESTRICTED Meeting with Dr. T. Lambo - No' 2 of the World Health Organisation

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RESTRICTED Meeting with Dr. T. Lambo - No' 2 of the World Health Organisation Geneva- 10.5 79 I took the opportunity while in Geneva of speaking personally to Dr. Lambo whom I have known well for some 15 years. The conversation was purely informal and unofficial. Basicallys I asked him two questions: 1. How high on the priority list of the World Health Organisation's problems was the issue of smoking and health? 2. What would he expect a responsible tobacco company to be doing about the issue? His answers were as follows : ~o The smoking and health topic was high on the list of priorities and came at the same level as their concern over drugs. He mentioned the special conference that they were running in Stockholm as am indication of their concern. He indicated that this was not only a medical problem but was now getting distinct political overtones. He was not exactly certain why this should be but suggested it was probably because of the multinational connotations and the general attacks being made on large companies. 2. He felt there were three main things that a responsible company would be expected to do: a) Try to ensure that people did not smoke to excess. There was no doubt that psychologically people would go on smoking since i£ they did not they were likely to take drugs. Nevertheless this was no reason for tobacco companies to push people into smoking ever more and more. Tobacco companies should encourage people only to smoke moderately. b) Every effort should be made to produce a safer cigarette. WHO would therefore support attempts to produce lower deliveries of tar and nicotine. Again it was important that tobacco companies did not take advantage of people ' s psychological need to smoke by providing them with high delivery cigarettes. c) He recommended that it would be a wise political move to arrange an informal meeting with senior officials of WHO and senior officials of BAT. He felt the industry was in a position of stalemate in that few people believed what we say in interpreting the evidence. He therefore felt it would be useful to have an t,j C_rl
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-2- exchange of views from both sides. He said that if I cared to come to Geneva with perhaps one of our scientists he would try personally to attend such a meeting and would invite other senior members of his s1~Ef. He suggested that Perhaps a whole day might be devoted to such a meeting. He mentioned that such meetings had been held successfully with some of the drug manufacturers whom WHO had previously attacked very strongly. A particu/ar case in point was~ La Roche. He believed that there has also been meetings with tobacco companies but was not sure which they might be. Dr. Lambo said that he would send me a select/on of some of their confidenl/al papers indicating the attitudes that they take to smoking and health and that he would ask me not to publish these outside the company without express reference to him. He suggested that towards the end of the month when the conference was over and when I had had time to consider his papers we should get in touch again. At that stage it might be possible to arrange a meeting of the type described above which would be entirely confident/al~ without any publicity and with no commitments on either side s. After my discussion with Dr. Lambo I rang Mr. Price at BAT (Suisse) and told him what had occurred. We agreed the following : I. Mr. Price would discuss the matter with Mr. Fankhauser on his return. 2. They will consider the possibility of getting in touch with La Roche to see what their experience was on their meeting with WHO. 3. They would try to find out if there was any knowledge in the Swiss Association of contacts by tobacco companies with WHO. 4. I would discuss the matter in London on my return and advise Mr. Price on the outcome. . We will consider what sort of representation should go to any meet/ng with WHO and whether it should be considered to be an individual company ~ a representative of the industry and whether anybody from Switzerland should attend to make a more permanent link. o O 4~ O
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-3- It was agreed that in the light of the draft policy prepared during our meetings in Geneva on the 9th and 10th 5 the disucssions with Dr. Lambo fir~l in well and offered possibil/ties of making some advance, but there are obvious problems because of the U.S.A. situation. "RLOE/CEH 11th May 1979 Copies to: BAT (Suisse) Mr. T. Tice Mr ~ G. C. Hargrove Mr. R. Haddon O O t~ t~4 fib Q~

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