Interview SummaryIn this interview, Lewis W. "Bud" Cochran discusses the formation of the Kentucky Tobacco and Health Research Institute (KTHRI). He recalls that Congress appropriated $1.5 million for this project, due to the efforts of Congressman William Natcher on Capitol Hill and Albert Clay at the local level. He discusses at length the distribution of federal funds for the programs, primarily the plant sciences, during the early years, in 1966-1967, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Cochran talks at length about the Kentucky "dedicated tax" for additional funding of the program, and emphasizes the need for separate funding by the state. He mentions members of the Policy Committee, including A. D. Albright, Paul Nagle, William Seay, William Willard, and Cochran. In the beginning, Gus Stokes was Director, and Ray Bard was the Chief Administrator.
Cochran recalls Albert Clay as a key person in implementing this entire project. Robert Griffith came from the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company to be Director in 1969. The KTHRI name changed from "program" to "institute" in 1969. Cochran discusses Griffith's world-wide connections with tobacco research, including the Council for Tobacco Research. He talks about the process of identification of the epidemiological problems associated with smoking, and the "two-hit theory" of cancer causation. Cochran describes the organization and consolidation of the research work on campus by Griffith in 1971, when he also developed the smoking machines and set up its own library system. They were careful to document everything and file an annual report. He mentions the nomination of the Kentucky Tobacco Board members by Earl Clements, including Bernard Keene, Tom Harris, Albert Clay, Mac Walters, Louis Ison, and Dr. Charles Barnhart. He talks about the problems with one of the advisors, Dr. Art Stein, a pathologist. Cochran discusses the differences that arose between him and Earl Clements.
Cochran felt that Griffith's early research proposals made the tobacco industries nervous, since they had probably already been performed, but "were not in the public domain", and talks about problems with the Board. He describes his trip overseas to check the Indonesian project and several stops in Europe, including England, to meet with various tobacco research people, and that these trips helped to acquire research funding that had previously been denied. Cochran discusses the political aspects of the tobacco industry and tobacco research. He felt that this program, with its difficult and complex research, would rival any program world-wide. Cochran emphasizes that the university, with its talent and objectivity, should serve as the agent for the state on major issues such as drug testing of racehorses or regulatory services, even though academia interacts with "very strong vested interests".