From 1995 to 1996, a fellow at the Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, documented a 35-year campaign by the tobacco industry to de-emphasize evidence of the health effects of tobacco.
The research resulted in the book SMOKESCREEN: The Truth Behind the Tobacco Industry Cover-up by Philip J. Hilts, a correspondent on health and science policy for The New York Times who was a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health's Center for Health Communication.
As the primary reporter covering tobacco issues for the paper, Hilts drew on prior research for articles he had written on tobacco, including a front-page series.
Research for SMOKESCREEN: The Truth Behind the Tobacco Industry Cover-up also involved gathering thousands of pages of internal documents from tobacco companies as well as tracking down and interviewing former employees of the companies, and conducting literature reviews.
The author gave more than 75 interviews to the national media, including National Public Radio and "Today" on NBC. Business Week dubbed the work one of "the best business books of 1996."
Hilts also gave a seminar for students and faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health on the public relations strategies of tobacco companies.