Noted tobacco advocate dies
Horace Kornegay, a former congressman from Greensboro who became a spokesman for Big Tobacco, died Wednesday morning at age 84.
Kornegay was chairman of the now defunct Tobacco Institute, the powerful lobbying arm of the cigarette manufacturers. In that role, Kornegay lead efforts to both promote tobacco and to head off anti-smoking initiatives, Rob Christensen reports.
"France may have champagne, Japan may have small cars ? but the United States of America has blended cigarettes," Kornegay told the Phillip Morris Board of directors in 1981. "In that category we are number one. Domestically and worldwide, the tobacco industry is sound, strong and on the upswing."
But during eight years in Congress and 18 years with the Tobacco Institute, Kornegay led a futile fight against the rising public opinion against cigarette smoking. It was a difficult and controversial assignment after the Surgeon General's report in 1964 tied smoking to a host of health problems.
The Tobacco Institute was one of the most influential lobbies on K Street, filling the campaign coffers of congressmen, and sending some of the best-paid lobbyists to the Capitol. When he retired in 1986 the institute had 115 employees.
He proudly quoted Sen. Ted Kennedy
Published – 20092101