July 4, 2015

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“Addiction Incorporated” highlights dangerous dealings of the tobacco industry| DVD Pick

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addictionincorporatedAddiction Incorporated. DVD. 76 min. and 35 min. w/60-page curriculum. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2013. $295. ISBN 1594583587.
Gr 9 Up–It would be difficult to imagine anyone not seriously questioning the dangers of smoking after watching this film, though it’s not necessarily a smoking prevention tool. Instead it’s an extremely interesting snapshot that gives viewers a chance to watch a rather sordid piece of American corporate history. Researcher Victor DeNoble, refreshingly candid and completely believable, talks about his research in the 1980s for tobacco giant Philip Morris. The company was worried about the number of smokers killed by cardiac problems associated with nicotine, and wanted to find a way to decrease the negative effects of it on the cardiovascular system. Instead, DeNoble isolated another chemical, already in cigarettes, that made lab rats increase their desire to get a dose of nicotine from 20 times a day to more than 500. He was about to submit a paper to a scholarly journal when the company ordered him to withdraw it. They fired him not long afterward. Years later, ABC News started digging and found a copy of the paper. In short order, Congress held hearings that were the beginning of tobacco industry regulation and an opportunity to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smoking. The re-creation of events, the animation, and the soundtrack all create an informative viewing experience. Perhaps the most memorable moment is towards the film’s end, when DeNoble is speaking to kids about the effects of addictive substances and the camera zooms in on face after face. –John R. Clark, Hartland Public Library, ME

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