This is my meeting with Al Gore. As it turns out, we have something in common - a deep interest in the Tobacco Business. VP Gore stood up to the Tobacco Industry despite coming from from Tobacco country. That took an enormous amount of courage - the kind I equate with Nelson Mandela in that I would never have expected it to happen in my lifetime and as a Southern politician, had a lot to lose. His stand lead to a worldwide change in smoking habits and legislation around the world.
My interest is little more academic - my book Cigarette Seduction is about the way the brands work: how they were created out of deep research, what that says about the culture and how it can help smokers quit. While Al Gore believes the Tobacco industry is evil - and I don't totally disagree - the issue is a little more complex because smoking fills certain psychic needs. If we are not cognizant of that, guess what? People can do a lot worse.