Jeffrey Wigand

Tobacco Whistleblower


The victim of this particular scandal (Brown & Williamson tobacco company) was the American people, and particularly smokers, as big tobacco companies were lying about how dangerous their products were and putting many people at risk of smoke-related medical issues.


Wigand worked for Brown and Williamson, an American branch of the tobacco giant British American Tobacco in the early 90's and was fired in '93, probably for his knowledge of the scandal. His investigation was started in 1994.

The Scandal

Wigand discovered that Brown and Williamson was lying about how much nicotine they were putting in their cigarettes, how harmful their cigarettes were, and what other chemicals were going into their cigarettes, as well as suppressing efforts to make cigarettes more safe. Wigand reported this to 60 Minutes after a lot of time thinking about it, and a special on it was aired for the world to see.


Brown and Williamson fired Wigand shortly after he revealed the information. He became a heavy drinker due to the stress that was on him, and B&W launched a campaign to destroy his public image for it. A suit was filed against B&W, and tobacco companies were fined $368 billion dollars to help pay for medical treatment for smoke-related medical problems. The company still existed afterwards, and merged with RJ Reynolds in 2004. Wigand decided to start a not-for-profit organization, Smoke-free Kids, which tries to steal children away from tobacco use as a result of the scandal. But most obviously, the tobacco industry's abuse was revealed.

My Reaction

I love what Wigand did for us all by revealing the awful practices of big tobacco companies. He truly is a brave and great man for revealing this corporate plot and helping to save the lives of so many Americans.


"Jeffrey Wigand." Jeffrey Wigand. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.