W Thomas Humber

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William Thomas Humber, universally known as Tom Humber, was an inhouse lobbyist for a couple of tobacco companies before he was employed as the executive in charge of tobacco accounts at the PR firm Burson Marsteller. In the 1980s and 1990s, Burson-Marsteller (B-M) was second only to Hill & Knowlton in providing media, strategic/tactical, and political support for the tobacco industry.

Humber was one of the most ruthlessly effective of the external PR and lobbyists employed by the industry. He is most notorious for creating and running the major smokers-rights organisation in the USA. He became the President and CEO of the National Smokers Alliance (NSA), a front group originally created with funding from Philip Morris (PM). [2][3] This became his semi-retirement project which kept him busy and wealthy for many years.

Some time later, following a decision by PM to withdraw support from the NSA, Humber wrote to the Lorillard Tobacco Company requesting their financial support for the beleaguered organisation. "I would even like to talk with you about a development project, the Center for Individual Freedom, which might be of interest to Lorrillard's parent or associated companies," he wrote. [4]

Documents and Timeline

As a former journalist and publishing executive, he has collaborated on three books including Dress for Success. He is the author of The Sacred Shroud, which has been translated into four languages.

Before December 1979 Special assistant for program administration to Governor Julian M. Carroll of Kentucky.

1979 Dec Joined Brown & Williamson Tobacco in the USA as Manager, External Communications, their main public affairs and lobbyist executive.

1980 Feb The Tobacco Institute lists him in its student profiles for the College of Tobacco Knowledge program. [5] [6]

1982 July 8He is working on the launch of the Barclay ventilated filter cigarette in Australia. Researchers note that at this time he was using the W. Thomas Humber version of his name. (later he dropped the W entirely). [7]

1984. He was Chairman of the Tobacco Institute's Communications and Public Affairs Committee.

1984 May 23 Surgeon General Koop was about to report on smoking and lung-disease, insisting that the lung-disease problem is worse than previously claimed. He estimated that the cost of smoking was $40 billion pa, and that the cost to Medicare was half a billion.

Even more disturbing to them was that Koop reported on the role of passive smoking -- which had even greater health implications than direct smoking, simply because this was not a self-inflicted condition. The corporate executives watching over this area of the tobacco company business were:

Also Don Hoel, the lawyer-lobbyist from Shook Hardy & Bacon. [8]

1989 Joined Philip Morris in Europe after working for B&W for a decade.

1993 Tom Humber of the PR company Burson-Marsteller, looking for extra billable work, recommends to Ellen Merlo at Philip Morris, a few ideas as to how the tobacco company should handle the ETS ('passive smoking') program. Among many other suggestions he lists:

We should specifically discuss the potential for EPA Watch as a part of media and other efforts. I have previously discussed with Tom Borelli several ideas for expanding the impact of EPA Watch and the reputation of Bonner Cohen as an expert on EPA matters. At a minimum, a series of radio actualities with Bonner commenting on EPA matters could reach an extremely wide audience, and we can tailor geographically for maximum appeal.

We think it also possible to establish a standard format that could give Bonner presence as an expert commentator, but that requires further investigation. As a part of the D-Day operation, Bonner's name was provided to several Colorado journalists as an outside resource on EPA transgressions.


1995 March Philip Morris is maintaining a quick-contact list of staff and executive lobbyists dealing with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - both domestic and International staff, and external contractors.

Arnolds & Porter -- Marti Cochran, Doug Dworkin, Peter Grossi, Sonia Fois, Even Hurwitz, Arthur Levine
Burson-Marsteller -- Gary Auxier, Don Cunningham, Mark Bindrim, Jim Callan, Mike Fitzgerald, Tony Hughes, Winston Leavell, Megan Moore, Ray O'Rourke
Other Consultants
National Smokers Alliance -- Tom Humber
RJ Reynolds
Tobacco Institute -- Brennan Dawson
Wachtel Lipton Rosen & Katz -- Jeff Boffa, Barbara Robbins
Young & Rubicam -- Jane Brite [11]
[Note this is nothing like a full list. It has no lawyers from Shook Hardy & Bacon, no Andrew Whist or top Corporate Affairs executives.]

Sourcewatch resources

External links

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