Stelios Kouloglou's program presents the series "The tobacco wars (Or how smoking severely harms the…truth)": three revelational BBC documentaries on one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century: the systematic misguidance and whitewash of the tobacco companies, that sacrificed the lives of millions of smokers, before several "insiders", scientists who worked for the companies, revealed the truth, despite of the heat that was put on them and the risk they themselves put their lives in.
Cigarettes, the 20th century's most popular commercial product, rose during World War I. The first machines of mass cigarette production had just been invented and both combatant sides gave cigarettes to soldiers, in order to lift their spirits. John Persing, commander of the American expeditionary force abroad, wrote to General Command: "If you're asking what it takes to win the war: bullets and cigarettes".
In the mid-war period, smoking became a symbol of women’s emancipation. The tobacco industries called it a "liberating torch" and created advertisements targeted specifically at women, emphasizing on the significance of smoking in losing weight.
During World War II there was an explosive boost in smoking. Winston Churchill and his staff came up with a secret plan that stated that in the case of a German invasion in Great Britain, food and 45 cigarettes should be given to every citizen once a week.
In the first decades after the war, doctors had to face a lung cancer epidemic. Some scientists quickly attributed the epidemic to smoking, but the tobacco industry reacted and hit back with the greatest public relations campaign in world history. Tobacco companies bought over doctors and politicians, who then argued that there was no scientific proof on the malicious effects of smoking. Thus, humanity continued to smoke...