Most young Americans know that cigarettes are addictive, but until 1994, that was secret information. The revelation of that secret is the subject of “Addiction Incorporated,” a documentary by Charles Evans Jr. that was shown last week at the Landmark’s E Street Cinema in the District. The film tells the story of Victor DeNoble, a scientist hired by Phillip Morris in the 1980s to conduct research on nicotine and create a “safe cigarette” that would not harm smokers’ health. Evans uses animation, and DeNoble himself explaining things, to show how DeNoble conducted tests on rats and “inadvertently created indisputable evidence that nicotine was addictive, something the tobacco companies had long denied.” Evans wants you to know the measures the tobacco industry took to contest DeNoble’s findings, including filing a $10 billion libel lawsuit when ABC News reported on them. (The suit was settled after ABC apologized for reporting that cigarette companies manipulated nicotine levels in their products.) If you ever doubted that cigarettes are bad for your health, “Addiction Incorporated” will certainly clear up the confusion.
Go to www.addictionincorporated.com for more information, including video interviews with DeNoble and others in the film, outtakes and a list of showings around the country.
For parents who dread talking with their adolescent sons about their changing bodies, Walt Larimore’s book may be a help. Larimore, a family-practice physician, offers a series of 30 questions that he answers in a teen-friendly way with medical evidence and a good sense of humor. He starts out easy, with what a growth spurt is and how to get bigger muscles; then he gets to the issues that many people are reluctant to discuss, such as the ins and outs of puberty and what’s going on down there. With witty answers rooted in facts, Larimore’s guide can help ease an uncomfortable situation when mothers or fathers have “the talk” with their sons.