In 1995, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, a former Vice President for Research and Development for Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, rose to national prominence when he blew the whistle on tobacco companies’ manipulation of research on the effect of nicotine in tobacco products. After leaving Brown & Williamson in 1993, Dr. Wigand cooperated with U.S. government agencies investigating the tobacco industry, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Former commissioner of the FDA, Dr. David Kessler, later recognized Dr. Wigand’s contribution to the FDA’s investigation into the addictiveness of tobacco products. In 1995, Dr. Wigand revealed the extent of the cigarette lobby’s misdeeds when he shared his inside-knowledge of the tobacco industry in an interview with 60 Minutes. Brown & Williamson then filed suit against Dr. Wigand; however, this suit was later dismissed as part of the landmark 1997 $368 billion settlement between the Attorneys General of the 40 states and the tobacco industry. After his landmark disclosures, Dr. Wigand briefly taught chemistry and Japanese at duPont Manuel Magnet High School in Louisville, Kentucky and was named 1996 Teacher of the Year for the state of Kentucky. Dr. Wigand now is a lecturer, expert witness, and consultant on tobacco-related issues. He has been a consultant on cases and tobacco-related policies to governments of countries including Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, Israel, Malta, Germany, France, Ireland, Iceland, and Japan. Dr. Wigand dedicated himself to anti-smoking campaigns and formed the non-profit SMOKE-FREE KIDS, Inc.
Wigand was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the film, The Insider.