Allan Brandt, a medical historian at Harvard, has written a history of the tobacco wars in his new book, "The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America." In it, he documents the fact that tobacco companies not only understood the health consequences of smoking, they actively manipulated their products to make them more addictive.
Dr. Brandt is no mere bystander in this history. In 2004, he served as the government's star witness in a federal racketeering case against Big Tobacco. Ultimately, the judge ruled against the industry, finding that it had engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to defraud its customers. Of being a party to the case, Brant says, "If one of us occasionally crosses the boundary between analysis and advocacy, so be it. The stakes are high, and there is much work to be done."