Tobacco Industry Sponsorship of the Olympics: A Dive into the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents

This post highlights just a few of the over 14 million tobacco industry documents contained in the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, a division of the UCSF Archives.

Could a sporting event like the Olympics ever equate with smoking? The games summon images of stamina, health, fortitude and strength, and for decades, the tobacco industry worked diligently to affiliate themselves with this major sporting event. Olympic games draw millions of eyes and the promotion and marketing opportunities were gold for the tobacco companies.

In 1936, RJ Reynolds’ Camel brand used Olympic speed skater Kit Klein to advertise the purported health effects of smoking on digestion:

Since 1988, each Olympic Games has adopted a tobacco-free policy but the tobacco industry has continued to create indirect associations in an effort to be connected with not only Olympic ideals but the worldwide platform the Games provide.

The Olympics as a powerful promotional tool: A 1980s memo in our British American Tobacco (BAT) records indicates executives considered the Olympics second only to Formula One motor racing as an effective sports-based “marketing platform.”  Into the 1990s, BAT affiliate UZBAT proudly proclaimed BAT sponsorship of Lina Cheryazova, 1994 Olympic Gold Medalist in freestyle skiing; and a 1992 memo between BAT and Singapore Tobacco Company, Korea, notes proposed Olympic team sponsorship in Thailand is illegal but ‘primary’ sponsors have been used as cover in the past.

The tobacco companies were so heavily invested in advertising and marketing around sporting events they could not risk censure from athletes. In a 1988 statement by Greg Louganis regarding tobacco sponsorship, the Olympian confessed, “I had become a slave to a tobacco company…Philip Morris representatives made it very clear that if I continued to speak out nationally [about tobacco and health], my career at, and association, with Mission Viejo [Realty Group, a PM subsidiary] would be over.”

The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia:
Documents in our Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds collections demonstrate that despite the almost decade long tobacco-free policy of the Olympic Games, the companies were still planning promotions and marketing events. A 1996 Philip Morris memo shows the tobacco giant crafted a contract to place a Benson & Hedges ad on the back cover of the Ultimate Games Guide, a souvenir program of the 1996 Olympic Basketball games in Atlanta. Similarly, a 1995 RJ Reynolds email discusses a new tobacco company whose products could be introduced at the Games with catchy brands like Torch and Gold Medal, even going so far as to posit an “official cigarette of the 1996 Olympics.”

The “accommodation” of Olympic visitors who smoke was a hot topic in 1996 and one that allowed the companies to roll in promotional and marketing activities.  “Accommodation programs” were the tobacco industry’s way of holding off smoking bans by partnering with hospitality agencies (hotels and restaurants) to promote “choice”, “preference” and often the “solution” of improved ventilation in order to accommodate both smokers and non-smokers in public areas.

You can view these documents and millions more at the UCSF Industry Documents Library, where we collect and make available internal corporate documents produced by industries that distort science in an effort to influence policies meant to protect public health.

3D Printing Artifacts in the Makers Lab

This is an excerpt of a blog post written by Dylan Romero, UCSF Library Makers Lab Manager. Read the full article here.

When the Makers Lab opened in April 2016, we were eager to explore 3D printing applications for UCSF. We soon learned there are countless applications for this technology at a health science institution. Even better, there are some incredible applications for us right here in the UCSF Library, specifically for the Library’s Archives & Special Collections department and the Makers Lab…

Stethoscope from A&SC Health Sciences Artifact Collection

I teamed up with Project Archivist (and Makers Lab volunteer) Kelsi Evans and began to search through the inventory of health science artifacts housed in the Archives. While reviewing the spreadsheet of over 900 items, Kelsi and I continued to find artifact after artifact that we knew had the potential to be recreated in the Makers Lab. Why recreate medical artifacts? Because many of these items are rare, old, and delicate, and must stay behind glass or be closely monitored in the Archives reading room. Why not recreate these artifacts to allow patrons to touch, feel, and interact with the material?

Unlocking the collection was our goal for the proof of concept project. Kelsi and I selected a stethoscope from the 1850’s, made of ebony and bone…

Archives & Special Collections was kind enough to loan the stethoscope to the Makers Lab for the project and I got right to work digitizing the instrument. I began by 3D scanning the stethoscope using the Matter & Form 3D scanner in the Makers Lab.

As you can see in the picture of the original stethoscope, the top potion is black, which unfortunately does not scan well with the 3D scanner. Not a problem, I moved on to modeling the stethoscope using the free, web-based software, Tinkercad. I spent the large majority of my time working in Tinkercad, trying to get the 3D model just right. There is still room for improvement, but the model was good enough for our proof of concept and I was ready to 3D print.

Continue reading the article on UCSF Library’s News page and discover how the printing turned out!

World AIDS Day: Digitizing The Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic   

On World AIDS Day we’re checking in on our NEH grant project to digitize large portions of our AIDS History Project collections.  For more information on the scope of the project see our previous post here. These collections illustrate for us the wide ranging impacts that AIDS has had on the Bay Area, and this project will allow us to share the stories of people with AIDS, the community groups galvanized to support them, and the researchers doggedly pursuing treatments and a cure here at UCSF.

Archivists at UCSF, San Francisco Public Library and the GLBT Historical Society have been reviewing collections, packing them up, and routing them through UCSF to the digitization lab at UC Merced.

Heather Wagner has been busily testing procedures, training students and coordinating workflows to move collection materials through digitization station. Papers, posters, diaries and other materials are run through high-speed sheet feed scanners, shot from overhead or on a cradle with a DSLR and carefully arranged lighting, or scanned on a flatbed scanner.

Scanning a poster from UCSF’s AIDS History Project Ephemera Collection at UC Merced.

We’ve digitized examples of materials requiring all these methods, look for full collections online at Calisphere.org in the coming weeks. here’s some examples from UCSF’s collections:

Bobbi Campbell was a nurse on staff at UCSF and was diagnosed with Kaposi’s Sarcoma in 1981.His diary is a vivid account of his personal life and activism as the “KS Poster Boy”. MSS 96-33 Bobbi Campbell Diary, page 39

 

A fundraising predecessor to today’s AIDS/Lifecycle . The Shanti Project provided one-on-one emotional and peer support for patients. “AIDS Bike-a-thon … Cycle for Shanti”, MSS 2000-31 AIDS History Project Ephemera Collecion

ACT-UP San Francisco Four Days in Washington DC, 1988. ACT-UP San Francisco Records, MSS 98-47