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The Insider

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/theinsider_1510.mp3

When he went to work for cigarette maker Brown Williamson in the late 80's, Jeffrey Wigand says his goal was to make a safer cigarette. Now he scoffs at that phrase, safe cigarette because he says there's no such thing.

As the company's top scientist, he discovered lawyers and executives were quick to alter any of his research documents that acknowledged the danger of smoking. Eventually, he was fired.

He ended up sharing inside information with reporters and federal officials, information about the tobacco company's own research which showed the risks of smoking and harmful effects of certain toxins in cigarettes'he says he felt compelled to tell others what he knew because of the moral responsibility that goes along with having such knowledge.

Many legal battles later, he now runs a non-profit organization designed to prevent kids from smoking.

He says coming to the Drury campus in Springfield gave him the chance to talk to students about the importance of behaving ethically, something executives at tobacco companies failed to do.

Wigand's comments made an impression on Brandy Byrd, a junior at Drury who wants to be a lawyer.

She says it was good to hear that some lawyers acted ethically in defending Wigand and his right to speak out against the tobacco companies.

Another reason Wigand says he wanted to come to Missouri has to do with the state's tobacco settlement and how lawmakers want to spend it.

With the tight budget, some lawmakers are pushing to spend part of the settlement on items not related to smoking cessation programs and healthcare.

Wigand says that's wrong'and he says Missouri should set aside at least 20 percent of the settlement for anti-smoking efforts. In the last few minutes of his comments to the packed auditorium, Wigand talked about the movie, the insider.

It depicts his struggle to tell his story and the struggle at CBS News over whether to air an interview with Wigand amid corporate pressure to suppress it.