Olympia - Millions of pages of once-secret tobacco industry documents will have a permanent home on the Internet thanks to a grant from the American Legacy Foundation to the University of California, San Francisco.
The $15 million grant has been awarded to UCSF to establish two programs - the Legacy National Tobacco Documents Library and the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. The programs will improve and strengthen Internet access to nearly 40 million pages of tobacco-industry and related documents that were obtained through state litigation, and will ensure the information contained within them remains accessible to the public.
Attorney General Christine Gregoire, President of the foundation, believes it is critical to keep these documents in the public eye.
"These documents show the trail of lies and deceit the tobacco industry used to keep millions of people around the world addicted to their deadly product," said Gregoire. "The new on-line documents library is important to the continued study of the industry and will provide easy access to all who want to view the documents."
The university is one of the world's leading academic institutions in tobacco-control research, and the new research center and library archive are intended to promote studies of tobacco-related documents and train scholars in this field. This research has played a significant role in building public and political support for laws and regulations to reduce exposure to tobacco smoke.
"The UCSF Library successfully fought off tobacco-industry efforts to keep these documents hidden, and was the first to use the Internet to make some documents available to the general public," said Gregoire. "By posting this far more extensive collection of material, we are ensuring that the industry's deplorable conduct will be seen and studied by future generations."
The American Legacy Foundation is a national, independent, Washington, D.C.-based public health foundation created by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Its mission is to decrease tobacco consumption and exposure to secondhand smoke nationwide.