1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Tobacco industry ‘Insider’ Jeffrey Wigand to speak at Transylvania, Tuesday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m.; free and open to the public

Jeffrey WigandLEXINGTON, KY.—Jeffrey Wigand, the real-life subject of the highly acclaimed film The Insider, will speak at Transylvania’s Haggin Auditorium on Tuesday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, “Insider’s View of the Tobacco Industry,” is free and open to the public.

Wigand, a scientist and former vice president of research and development for the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, was hired in 1988 to help develop a safer cigarette. His career came to an abrupt halt five years later when he took issue with the company’s policy to continue using a controversial pipe additive.

Wigand gained national prominence by revealing the tobacco industry’s disregard for health and safety during a 60 Minutes interview and a Food and Drug Administration investigation into the role and effect of nicotine in tobacco products. Brown & Williamson filed a lawsuit against him, but it was dismissed in 1997 as a condition of the $246 billion settlement between the attorneys general of 40 states and the tobacco industry.

The 1999 motion picture recounts the events leading up to and surrounding the 60 Minutes interview. Directed by Michael Mann and starring Russell Crowe (as Wigand) and Al Pacino, The insider was named Best Picture of the Year by L.A. Film Critics and was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Wigand received numerous awards for his action in revealing tobacco company research and marketing practices, and he continues his efforts to reduce teen tobacco use through the non-profit organization Smoke-Free Kids, which he founded. He also travels the world promoting a smoke-free environment and spreading the word about the dangers of smoking.

The lecture is part of Transylvania’s Drugged America Series and is sponsored by the Bingham-Young Fellowship Program. For more information, contact the public relations office at (859) 233-8120.