News Release

Former tobacco scientist to discuss addiction and industry secrets Sept. 30

Contact: Elise Doster


     HAMMOND – Former Philip Morris research scientist Victor DeNoble will lecture Sept. 30 at Southeastern Louisiana University on the effects of tobacco on the brain as well as his personal experiences as an anti-tobacco activist.

     DeNoble will speak in the War Memorial Student Union ballroom on “Addiction and the Brain” at 11 a.m. and “Journey from Scientist to Whistle Blower” at 6 p.m. The lectures, hosted by the University Counseling Center and sponsored by a grant from the Louisiana Tobacco-Free Living College Initiative, are free and open to the public. 

     In his first interactive presentation, DeNoble will discuss biological explanations for addiction as well as how different addictive substances like alcohol and nicotine affect the brain. In his second lecture, he will talk about his personal journey from scientist to activist, including the ethical challenges he faced as a researcher for the international tobacco company Philip Morris.

     As a scientist for Philip Morris, DeNoble was asked to develop a “safer” cigarette with the same addiction levels as regular cigarettes. He found he could remove toxins that increase the adverse side effects of tobacco, such as lung cancer and heart disease, while maintaining the addictive properties.

     Although his research was successful, Philip Morris fired DeNoble because of the sensitive nature of what his studies revealed about nicotine addiction. After he maintained his silence for more than a decade, the U.S. Congress released DeNoble from his confidentiality agreement with Philip Morris.

     Since 1994, DeNoble has played an active role in tobacco awareness and has testified before the Food and Drug Administration, informing the public about tobacco side effects and industry secrets. He has been featured on investigative TV shows such as “60 Minutes” and “Dateline NBC.”

     DeNoble received his doctorate in experimental psychology from Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., and held postdoctoral fellowships from the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York and the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the University of Minnesota. He was employed by the Behavioral Research Department of Philip Morris from 1980-1984. His life story is currently being made into movie.

     For additional information, contact the University Counseling Center at 985-549-3894.

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