Matthew N Winokur

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Matt Winokur worked for Philip Morris Corporate Affair (CA) in New York, and for a time he was Director for Regulatory Affairs in Europe. At a later period, after company restructuring, he ran Worldwide Regulatory Affairs (WRA). These positions roughly replaced the role which had been played previously by Andrew Whist as the company's (and to a degree the tobacco industry's) main scientific dissembler and manipulator of media and public opinion. This was at the level of a senior staff leader (below that of lawyers Steven Parrish and Craig L Fuller and two levels below that of the top board-room executives of CEOs and Chairmen, Geoff Bible and Bill Murray.

He first appears in the tobacco archive documents in the early 1980s as a research assistant to Andrew Whist]] with the Corporate Affairs division of Philip Morris International. He was involved in tracking and criticising any adverse studies of smoking and health worldwide -- and circulating criticisms back to these international subsidiaries. He also worked with the combined international industry groups in the recruitment of Whitecoats, and with such propaganda organisations as INFOTAB,

Later he rose to be Manager of the office of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs for Philip Morris Europe. He was appointed Director of Public Affairs of Philip Morris International, Inc. on March 11, 1991.[2] and then became Director of Worldwide Tobacco Regulatory Issues -Europe in August 1993. In all these positions he was based in New York.

In his various jobs within Philip Morris Corporate Affairs, Matt Winokur was responsible for helping PM devise strategies to fight public health regulation of smoking and tobacco products. He was also a key member of the global conspiracy of tobacco companies to defeat regulations and restrictions around the world. He was an active executive promoter, funder and controller of some of the worst of the corrupt scientists who worked for the tobacco industry. He served as Whist's aide and 'dogs body' for many years before rising to take his place at th top of the industry heirarchy.

NOTE: There are 28,220 documents in the tobacco archives which reference "Winokur" ... An exceptionally high number.

Documents & Timeline

1980 Apr 3 Winokur is with Philip Morris Inc. under the direction of Andrew Whist. He has helped Tina Walls develop a paper on Tar and Nicotine labelling requirements which will be shared with Bryan Simpson at INFOTAB. [3] [4]

1981 Jan 30 Matt Winokur is Public Affairs Supervisor at Philip Morris International in New York. He is dealing with a meeting of the domestic Tobacco Institute in this memo.[5]

1981 May 21 PM USA's CEO Hugh Cullman (cousin of Chairman Joe Cullman) is setting up the way the company reports to the Tobacco Institute via lawyers Covington & Burling. Matthew Winokur is to be consulted on all international trading matters. [6]

1981 Sep 17 He is at Philip Morris dealing with a meeting of the Middle East Working Group in Brussels (INFOTAB)[7]

1982 Aug 16 The Harvard University Case Study has been sent to CEO/Chairman of Philip Morris International, Hamish Maxwell, by chief science dissembler Andrew Whist. Matthew Winokur has been detailed to go through the study and "correct any statements regarding our operations in the third world." Then "Shook Hardy and Bacon will prepare a written response on smoking and health aspects".

They are compiling a list of useable arguments for the use of Professor Laura Nash who will be meeting with Maxwell.

We will make available, for you to give Prof. Nash, a number of medical statements, officially gazetted during the recent Waxman hearings in Washington, together with testimony on the role of advertising given by MJ Waterson before the same hearing.

[Note Michael J Waterson is the Research Director of the Advertising Association in the UK.[8]

1983 Jan 12Matt Winokur is being memo'd with information about the carcinogenic effects on the lungs of benzoapyrene, a substance found in tobacco smoke and also in charcoal-broiled steak (one via the gullet, the other via the lungs). [9] [10]

1983 May Winokur at Philip Morris International Public Affairs is concerned with British-American Tobacco's "Smoking and Health Position Paper." BAT has recommended 'moderation' in smoking as an useful health message, and Winokur disagrees. [11]

1983 July 26 Winokur is working under Andrew Whist in the Public Affairs division of Philip Morris International. He is working in misinformation with the lawyer Don Hoel (of Shook Hardy & Bacon) and other PM and company dissemblers. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has broken the story that so-called 'low-yield cigarettes' have as much nicotine as 'high-yield' cigarettes (it depends on the pH of the tobacco). [12]

1984 Mar Copy list for Philip Morris disinformation executives (Smoking & Health):

James C. Bowling James BotticelliVincent R. Clephas Christopher Cory Michael A. DeMita
Ms. Jeannine Dowling Dale Florio William Gamble Paul Gibson Ms. Cynthia Hammett
Donald Harris Alex Holtzman Ms. Elizabeth Hopkins Michael Irish Roy Marden
Alan Miller Frank Moreno John Nelson Fred Newman Ms. Diana Platts
Ms. Susan Puder Ernest P. Quinby J. Bernard Robinson Timothy Rothermel Frank A. Saunders
Stanley S. Scott Ms. Mary Taylor Andrew WhistMatthew Winokur William Ruder [13]

1984 May 11 Winokur is with the Public Affairs Dept of PM International, and getting mail from Bryan Simpson's "Documentalist" (Peter J Kettlewell) in INFOTAB in Brussels. [14] Antonietta Corti the Director of Information Services is also corresponding with him and sending him an Action list determined at a recent meeting of global disinfomation managers. Andrew Whist of PMI has nominated Matthew Winokur and Timothy S Rothermel as contacts for a 'forestry consultation' program (presumably fire-safety). [15]

1986 May 27 He is in BAT's office (or perhaps using their Hong Kong offices for relay), but dealing with Health Warning labels on cigarettes imported into Taiwan. His contacts are Andrew Whist at PM in New York, but also Bryan Simpson who runs the international tobacco INFOTAB operation out of Brussels and two members of the Tobacco Advisory Committee of the UK, Raymond K Donner of RJ Reynolds public affairs in Hong Kong, and Michael Leach of BAT Public Affairs in London, UK. He wants the US government's trade negotiators to oppose the labelling requirements.

1986 Nov 10 Winokur is with Philip Morris Asia working from Hong Kong. He seeks advice from Wendy Burrell in the Corporate Affairs New York office asking "Who's working on opposing efforts to restrict sales of cigarettes to the US Military?" [16]

pre 1989 Matthew Winokur was Manager of the public and media affairs office of the domestic Philip Morris company (PM USA) dealing with the control of such matters as the fake indoor air testing done by Gray Robertson and Healthy Buildings International, and the company's general relationship with the Tobacco Institute.

1989 He is looking after the preparation of documents for the tobacco lawyers Shook Hardy & Bacon who are representing Philip Morris in Europe on some matter related to the International Agency into Research on Cancer (IARC). [17]

1989 Nov 3-4 The McGill University ETS Symposium was held in Canada with between 80 and 200 (two different estimations -- probably the lower) of scientists and medical specialists flown in from around the world. This was a completely closed conference where every speaker and every listener was a paid lackey of the tobacco industry.

It was funded and run by Andrew Whist's Corporate Affairs division of Philip Morris in New York. This was an extension of their global Whitecoats program of recruiting scientists and medical specialists of various types to remain undercover, but to be available when required to provide witness and other services to the industry on a generous pay-for-service basis. The recruits both acted independently, and also through mutual support cliques (ie peer-review groups) under the guise of independent air-quality scientific associations.

The Whitecoats were progressively recruited by lawyers from Covington & Burling with the help of the Weinberg Group (aka WashTech). They were then formed into regional associations: Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group (IAPAG in the USA; Associates for Research on Indoor Air (ARIA in the UK; EGIL (Swedish term) in Scandinavia; Indoor Air International IAI the European umbrella organisation with its own 'peer-reviewed journal' AIA; East Mediterranean Indoor Environment Society (EMIES) based in Cairo at Ain Shams University; Asian Regional Tobacco Industry Scientists Team (ARTIST). At the time of the McGill conference only one of the recruited scientists from Asia had any actual experience with the problem of indoor air smoke pollution, so they needed to be trained and provided with 'expert credentials'.

So the objects of this conference were multiple:

  • Inexperienced or newly recruited scientists could meet and learn from those in Europe and America where they had long specialised in defending the industry against legislation
  • After a few two-day training conferences prior to McGill, the newly recruited scientists/medico were given the outline of a speech, which was purported to be made at McGill.
  • These speeches were reviewed and improved by Philip Morris staff, and later published under the control of Matt Winokur's group as the "Proceedings of the McGill University ETS Symposium]] (This carries the citation status of a peer-reviewed article in the medical literature). The proceedings were nominally published and distributed by medical lobbyist Paul G Dietrich (a lawyer) through his fake Institute for International Health & Development (IIHD).
  • When required to cooperate, either through their Scientific association, or through 'peer-reviewing' each others articles, the new Whitecoats would know personally the others involved.

1990 Jan 17 Matt Winokur has the job of publicising the McGill ETS Symposium to promote the proceedings. Ogilvy & Mather PR has been hired "to interest a select group of writers in writing stories on the book." The press release claims that most of the scientists at this conference concluded that any claims that passive smoking was in any way injurious, to health was a furphy ... and the result of bad science.

Two well-paid scientist Donald J Ecobichon at McGill University and Joseph M Wu of New York Medical College were listed as the proceeding's editors and they were available for consultation if the journalists needed further information. Three of the industry's more notorious indoor-air-testing scam operators were also available for interviews.

The conference conclusion, according to the release, was a "fresh look at the issues; not the usual anti-smoker rhetoric", and it "represented the conclusions of a scientific meeting of over 80 scientists from more than 20 countries". It included recent data only

available since the widely publicized Surgeon General's report of 1986 (which now) does not support the notion that ETS is a health hazard.[18]

1990 Mar 16 Suggested Fire Safety Education Projects for Philip Morris report sent to Winokur (NOTE 3 pages in two records) by the Tobacco Institute mentions problems of fires and the need for Philip Morris to engage in "developing or strengthening long-term relationships with fire service officials" . The Tobacco Institute employed a contractor, Philip Schaenman, who's company TriData Corporation Inc specialised in corrupting fire safety officials. [19]

This report was sent to Winokur for advice by Karen Fernicola-Suhr (aka Karen L Fernicola) who looked after fire safety issues at the Tobacco Institute. It was essentially a bribery program with the fire service unions to ensure that they never took an official stand against smoking. To provide cover, they also funded a "Fire Safety Education Program" which received no publicity outside the fire service. (You figure!) [20] [21]

1990 Dec 4 John C Luik was one of the more notorious of the Canadian academics who worked more for the tobacco industry than they did for the universities that employed them. Luik was one of the industry's favourite witnesses who would claim in court that his research (and others) proved that advertising didn't influence young people to smoke, and he was seen as the most effective expert to oppose proposals to enforce plain packaging. He was sent to Australia to work with the Institute of Public Affairs when Australia moved to become the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging legislation (and cut cigarette consumption dramatically).

Here he is at Brock University proposing to Matt Winokur a book on "free speech and the tobacco industry." Luik was at Brock University only from 1985 and he taught applied professional ethics until April 1990 when the university discharged him. This appears to be an attempt to generate work following his dismissal.

He spells out in detail how he would handle such problems as advertising bans (treat as a debate on individual autonomy) and of addiction (This must be countered if the autonomy argument is to retain its force.) He is aiming at "politicians, legislative analysists, advertisers, corporate and professional leaders, individuals within the industry and perhaps even that elusive being, the intelligent and thoughtful general reader." (Note: in other words it is a lobbying document not a real book). He wants $65-70,000 for the work. [22]

1991 Mar 11 He was appointed Director of Public Affairs of Philip Morris International, Inc. [23]

1991 Mar- Aug 1993 at some time in this period his title was changed to Director of Corporate Affairs for Europe at PM's office in Rye Brook, New York. And in his period he also reporting to Ted Lattanzio, Director, Worldwide Tobacco Regulatory Issues.

1993 Feb 24-25ETS World Conference in New York. He is listed as one of the "Conference Hosts" for this meeting in New York with key Philip Morris executives and senior disinformation staff brought in from around the world, He is listed at this time as "Director Corporate Affairs with PM International in New York. This long document has a very good section on PM's tactical techniques on "Rebutting Tobacco Industry arguments." The invitation list extended also to lawyers and public relations advisors. []

1993 MarGeoff Bible (himself an Australian) is sending trouble-shooter David Davies to Australia. [This is a later (May 4 2002) commentary by Murray Mottra on the memo he wrote to Davies:

In a seven-page memo in March, 1993, Bible set out his gospel for winning influential friends and influencing them to Philip Morris executive David Davies. Bible was sending Davies to Melbourne to reverse the tobacco giant's political fortunes in Australia as the push for tough anti-smoking legislation was gathering momentum. Bible was worried proposals for tough, boldly displayed health warnings on cigarette packets would spread to other countries. "It is imperative this initiative be stopped," Bible wrote. In the late 1980s, Australia had been dominated by Labor state governments whose tax and health policies kept Philip Morris' Australian management rushing from spot fire to spot fire. But Bible believed the election of Liberal-led governments in Victoria and Western Australia created an opening. "The plan now should be to widen our network of government contacts," he told Davies

Despite Australia being Winokur's territory, Davies was probably sent because Winokur needed to deal with an outbreak of anti-smoking decisions by international airlines.

1993 Aug 3 British Airways (BA) had announced that all of its European flights of 90 minutes or less would become smoke-free,[25] and Philip Morris started looking for ways to pressure British Airways into reversing this decision. One of the people leading PM's campaign against British Airways was Matthew Winokur, then with Worldwide Regulatory Affairs. He was appointed Director of Worldwide Tobacco Regulatory Issues for Europe in August 1993 and based in New York.

1993 Sep A telex titled "BA Tactics" written by Winokur suggests devising a "grassroots strategy" of using Philip Morris employees to pressure British Airways to reverse the ban. telex Winokur suggests that all PM employees (and employees of other tobacco companies) who travel on British Airways should be furnished with a blank piece of paper with their tickets along with instructions to submit a written complaint to British Airways about the lack of smoking seats on their flights. The plan would create the impression that large numbers of British Airways customers were unhappy with the smoking restrictions.

Presumably the reason that Winokur wanted to furnish the employees with BLANK paper (and not tobacco company letterhead) was to obscure the fact that all the complaints were coming from tobacco company employees. Winokur stated,

If PM and our allies all do this, we could create the impression that passengers...are in fact not pleased with the ban. This will go head on with the ban....What do you think? This could create a real volume of letters....

1993 The cigarette industry was countering threats to its rights to sell cigarettes openly to teenagers (and via cigarette machines). It fought this battle in the USA by initiating and running a number of campaigns to pretend that they were serious about reducing teenage smoking (See "Helping Youth Decide program (YHD) campaign and Responsible Living. An internal Philip Morris Australia memorandum titled "Phase Two Elaboration" written by Winokur reveals a host of corporate strategies to "head off regulations" in Australia.

Winokur discusses PM's ownership of the Vegemite brand name, a breakfast spread brand that is strongly identified with Australia through PM's Kraft subsidiary, and to the Australian public's resentment of foreign ownership of the name. He discusses what PM may be able to do about it. Winokur also identifies "concessions" that PM can use when negotiating with the Australian government.

  • One was "developing campaigns to prevent youth from smoking." Winokur says that such a program "should be developed as ammunition if and when needed, since its clear that tobacco issues can move very quickly in Australia," saying "these shorts of projects [youth programs] could help 'move the needle.'"
  • The memo shows that Winokur considered using the Kraft General Foods (KGF) name to "help tobacco" in Australia, and considered whether doing so would "hamper KGF's agenda."
  • He discussed which individuals could be recruited to help PM attack Australian Ministerial Councils "on the grounds that they 'waste taxpayers' money' and 'cost business.' "
  • Winokur also reiterates PM's strategy of broadening any debate on tobacco by shifting the focus off of health issues:
The not only to create allies but 'shift the debate' from tobacco to broader issues and thus change the battleground. As long as we try to fight on the anti's agenda, we'll get nowhere.

1993 Nov 9 John C Luik the Canadian academic and tobacco lobbyist has now written an article which he is trying to plant on the "Philosophy and Public Affairs Journal." He has given it the title: "Pandora's Box - The Dangers of Politically Corrupted Sciences for Democratic Public Policy."

Winokur is on the circulation list along with numerous other misinformation executives from the other European countries and companies. Apparently one of the editors of the Journal is knowledgeable enough about statistical methodology that he finds Luik's claims "disturbing".

John Luik has therefore asked for our comments and suggestions as to how to proceed.

The organiser wanted ideas. They were to write back and tell him how to proceed.[26]

1994 June 1 Winokur is organising an attack on the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) communications plan with RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Reemtsma (Germany) Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans and Christopher Proctor from British-American Tobacco. They have regular conference calls and a task force which will meet in November before the IARC conference. The Tobacco Institute has prepared answers to be used at a press conference on the risk to children from passive smoking, and Winokur is distributing them to the other companies. [27]

1994 Aug 16 and 18 Jenny Green a lawyer who worked under Chuck Lister for Covington & Burling, and who acts as a recruiter of Whitecoats and organiser of their sham research institutes (ARIA and IAI]]) is circulating to a company list (with Winokur the PM representative) new discoveries of health problems from smoke (Asthma, etc) [28] [29]

She has also been investigating for Winokur the background of participants in the IARC's's "ETS Roundtable in Paris." One participant (Goren Pershagen of the Karolinska Institute) was well known to tobacco lobbyists, and another, Dr Rodolfo Saracci, Unit of Analytical Epidemiology, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). was said by the lawyers to be an "influential epidemiologists known to have strongly anti-tobacco views". [30] The others were new anti-smoking participants who needed quick biographies. [31] Chuck and Jenny agree to enlist tobacco statistical helper Peter N Lee They are also sending science lobbyist Francis JC Roe to Sweden to find out what Goran Pershagen knows about the IARC study. [32]

1995 Jan 17 and 26 Chuck Lister of Covington & Burling in London (The main organiser of the Whitecoats program, ARIA, EGIL and IAI) has sent Winokur "some revisions in the list of possible standards". The London lawyers are trying to get the Europeans and UN organisations to adopt cigarette standards and air-quality standards that ignore the passive smoking problem. [33] [34]

[Note ISO - International Standards Organisation standards. ASHRAE = American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers which sets the US standards for indoor air quality (IAQ).]

1995 Oct 10
Richard A Carchman, VP of Worldwide Scientific Affairs at PMI has written to Marc S Firestone (Senior VP WRA) in praise of Winokur's diligence in learning about tobacco ingredients. He has been "asserting himself on ingredient matters and this is going to be important to the WRA/SA interface. There are several issues relating to "ingredients". [35]

[Note: WRA = Worldwide Regulatory Affairs division of PMI. SA = Scientific Affairs. Winokur is obviously being quickly trained to provide testimony or act as a witness.]

1998 Winokur is running a "formatting project" for documents, presumably to be used by lawyers in some of the law cases. [36]

1998 Aug 14 Geoff Bible has called a top level meeting of all the US tobacco companies to discuss settlement of the remaining State Attorney General's cases. From this point on, the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a certainty.

1998 Dec Matthew N Winokur Direct Roles and Responsibilities document.

  • Regulatory: ETS risk assessment; General Risk assessment: Regional support; Standards; WHO Framework Convention coordination.
  • Accommodation: Opinion research in 50 countries; Workplace accomodation policy
  • Liaison with Worldwide Scientific Affairs
  • Regional Support of ANCAM (Latin American countries)


1999 May 5 Winokur's now-revised Goals for the year ahead include (along with the motherhood statements) "Direct the development and activities of WRA's Information Management Function (to) roll out an electronic database document storage and retrieval system mid-year. {Note: This was part of the MSA] [39]

1999 Nov 15Matt Winokur was sending material (via his secretary) for the attention of Even Hurwitz, who is Philip Morris's FDA consultant at the law firm of Arnold & Porter. [40]


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