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Much of the book deals with the routine business of the FDA: orange-juice seizures, a fight to restrict the sale of body tissues from foreign sources, how he responded to complaints that syringes were found in Pepsi cans, and so on. But the driving force behind Kessler's narrative is how he slowly woke up to the possibility of regulating cigarettes. "It is too easy to be swayed by the argument that tobacco is a legal product and should be treated like any other," he writes. "A product that kills people--when used as intended--is different. No one should be allowed to make a profit from that." His story is a lesson in Washington power politics--a game he played with naiveté when he started but was expert at by the end of his tenure.
To say Kessler and his team of FDA regulators "defeated" Big Tobacco is an overstatement: they were part of a broader effort that included trial lawyers, consumer groups, and crusading journalists, and the industry hasn't exactly gone away. But they were instrumental in forcing tobacco companies to admit that nicotine is addictive and cigarettes cause cancer, and in bringing about a sea change in the industry's legal and popular standing. Kessler now believes in regulation so tight it will strangle Big Tobacco forever: "If our goal is to halt this manmade epidemic," he writes, "the tobacco industry, as currently configured, needs to be dismantled." A Question of Intent is a well-told muckraker. It unfolds deliberately, like a good detective story. Admirers of Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action, especially those with a taste for public policy, won't be disappointed. --John J. Miller
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Dr. Kessler stated the tobacco farmers and cigarettee manufactures have an agreement to maintain nicotine in tobacco at specific levels. Read morePublished 23 months ago by dwight ware watson
An astounding book and an astounding story of tobacco-industry greed and manipulation. All Americans and all responsible citizens, wherever they may live in the world, should read... Read morePublished on July 15, 2012 by Bonnie Sachs
Great read for anyone interested in sleuthing, public health, law, or the power of big industry. I couldn't put it down but had to in order to get my nightly sleep. Read morePublished on December 25, 2010 by marie friedlander
I am Merrell Williams, the first tobacco whistleblower, and here is a specific comment about this book. Read morePublished on July 25, 2009 by Merrell Williams
It helped me when I quit several years back. I recommend it to anyone who needs a little info to battle nicotine addiction. Read morePublished on April 30, 2009 by Chuck
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am very impressed with a person like David A. Kessler, MD, JD, who is very knowledgeable and compassionate to our community. Read more
David Kessler in A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry provides readers with an entertaining and educating read that serves as a guide for... Read morePublished on April 24, 2007 by K. Price
America, for all its faults, is the battlefield on which many of the world's most important health questions are being fought. Read morePublished on October 1, 2005 by Declan Hayes