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TV Documentary Examines Three Decades of Tobacco Politics, Policies and People in Minnesota
Date:10/11/2007

Program premieres October 20 on TPT's Minnesota Channel

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The politics, policies and people who have been at the center of the last three decades of reducing tobacco use in Minnesota will be featured in a new television documentary that premieres this month. The program, "Tobacco vs. Minnesota: Clearing the Air," will have its first showing Saturday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. on Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) Minnesota Channel 17 (for local channel listings, go to http://www.tpt.org).

The program, a co-production of ClearWay Minnesota(SM) and TPT's Minnesota Channel, begins its story in the 1970s. The program looks at the 1975 passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act, a first-of-its-kind law to protect people from secondhand smoke. But the program also tells the stories of the individuals who made a difference, including Monticello, MN, newspaper publisher Don Smith. A campaign he started in 1974 to encourage readers of his newspaper to quit smoking became a national event three years later. Today, the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smoke-Out remains an important part of efforts to encourage people to quit smoking.

The program also examines the impact of the state's and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota's litigation against the tobacco companies in the 1990s. This was a key turning point in the public's understanding of the health hazards of tobacco. The case eventually forced the tobacco industry to reveal its secret documents, including research it had conducted on the health hazards of smoking.

Retired Ramsey County District Court Judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick who presided over the trial tells viewers of the significance of the disclosure. "The documents that we did see -- some of them, of course, have been destroyed, some of them we'll never see -- but the ones that we reviewed, we found that there was overwhelming evidence that the
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SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota
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