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Philip J. Hilts, 74, Dies; Reporter Uncovered a Large-Tobacco Co…

Philip J. Hilts, who as a science reporter for The New York Instances in 1994 uncovered a tobacco corporate’s decades-long cover-up of its personal analysis appearing that tobacco was once damaging and nicotine was once addictive, died on April 23 in Lebanon, N.H. He was once 74.

The purpose was once headaches of liver illness, his son Ben stated.

Mr. Hilts was once an established journalist, writing for The Instances, The Washington Put up and different publications, and was once the writer of six nonfiction books on clinical, scientific and social subjects.

His paintings on tobacco made headlines no longer handiest in The Instances but in addition around the nation. In 1994, he obtained internal documents appearing that executives of the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company have been suffering with whether or not to divulge to the surgeon normal what they knew in 1963 concerning the hazards of smoking; their very own analysis confirmed that cigarettes have been addictive and led to lung most cancers or predisposed other people to it.

The Brown & Williamson executives, Mr. Hilts wrote, “selected to stay silent, to stay their analysis effects secret, to forestall paintings on a more secure cigarette and to pursue a criminal and public members of the family means of admitting not anything.”

Mr. Hilts’s article, at the entrance web page of The Instances, gave the impression a month after best executives of the seven largest American tobacco firms testified before Congress that nicotine was once no longer addictive. Two years later, they have been all beneath federal investigation for doubtlessly mendacity beneath oath and have been no longer main their firms.

The Justice Division in the end dropped its criminal investigation into whether or not the executives had perjured themselves. However in 1998, 4 tobacco firms and 46 states reached what was once the largest civil litigation settlement in American history, with the firms agreeing to pay the states $206 billion over 25 years. Tens of millions of inner corporate paperwork of the kind that Mr. Hilts and different information organizations had trusted have been made public within the procedure.

Mr. Hilts additionally broke main tales about breast implants, contraceptives and deceit within the beauty software business. He was once some of the first journalists to hide the AIDS epidemic.

An adventurous sort — he was once a scuba diver and international traveler — he wrote a dispatch from an lively volcano a mile beneath the Pacific Ocean. He lined the confessions of a healer in Zambia who claimed to be “curing” AIDS. And he tested a law-enforcement observe of the use of hypnosis to “refresh” the recollections of witnesses; his findings of problems with hypnosis resulted in the discharge of 4 males from jail.

Maximum lately, he served as director of the Knight Science Journalism Program on the Massachusetts Institute of Era, from 2008 to 2014.

His books come with “Smokescreen: The Fact At the back of the Tobacco Business Quilt-Up” (1996), which tested the business’s 40-year disinformation marketing campaign on cigarette smoking; “Protective The us’s Well being: The FDA, Trade and One Hundred Years of Legislation” (2003), a historical past of the Meals and Drug Management; and “Rx for Survival: Why We Will have to Upward thrust to the International Well being Problem” (2005), by which he described how rich international locations can assist struggle the specter of new and resurgent outbreaks of illness all over the world.

Philip James Hilts was once born on Might 10, 1947, in Chicago. His father, Edward, was once a nonfiction author who additionally wrote ancient fiction for kids. His mom, Katherine (Bonn) Hilts, labored at a Sears retailer in numerous departments, together with as a switchboard operator.

Philip was once considered one of seven youngsters and grew up principally in Hinsdale, Sick., a suburb west of Chicago.

After highschool, he served in brief within the service provider marine ahead of attending Georgetown College in Washington, from 1965 to 1967. He then dropped out and hitchhiked to San Francisco to take part within the “Summer of Love,” when the hippie and counterculture actions have been in complete bloom.

He returned to Georgetown in 1969 however by no means graduated, deciding as a substitute to take in journalism. He undertook quick stints as a reporter and photographer at small suburban newspapers and at The Washington Day-to-day News in Washington, D.C., and The Rocky Mountain News in Denver ahead of turning into a contract mag author.

He joined The Washington Put up as a body of workers author within the Nineteen Eighties, taking day trip for a Nieman fellowship at Harvard from 1984-85. He moved over to The Instances’s Washington bureau in 1989 as a body of workers author till 1996, when he was a freelance author till 2002.

Mr. Hilts gained a number of journalism fellowships, together with person who despatched him to Botswana, the place he taught journalism. Maximum of his fellowships have been dedicated to science writing.

He married Mary Donna McKeown, a fellow reporter at The Washington Day-to-day News, in 1974; she died in 1987. In 1993, he married Carisa Cunningham, who on the time labored for nonprofit AIDS organizations; they divorced in 2011. He married Una MacDowell, who was once a researcher in math and science schooling, in 2013. They lived in Cambridge, Mass., and Rochester, Vt. He died in a health facility.

Along with his spouse and his son Ben, he’s survived by way of some other son, Sean; two daughters, Alexis and Kate Hilts; a grandson; 4 brothers, Edward, Paul, Michael and Mark; two sisters, Jeanne Younger and Elizabeth Hilts; and two youngsters from his spouse’s first marriage, William and Nora MacDowell Coon.

At his loss of life, Mr. Hilts was once completing a guide about Lynn Margulis, a biologist whose analysis into the starting place of cells helped turn into the learn about of evolution, and who was once married for a time to the astronomer Carl Sagan.


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