More than a decade has passed since the conclusion of the Minnesota tobacco trial and the signing of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) by 46 US State Attorneys General and the US tobacco industry. The Minnesota settlement exposed the tobacco industry's long history of deceptive marketing, advertising, and research and ultimately forced the industry to change its business practices. The provisions for public document disclosure that were included in the Minnesota settlement and the MSA have resulted in the release of approximately 70 million pages of documents and nearly 20,000 other media materials. No comparable dynamic, voluminous, and contemporaneous document archive exists. Only a few single events in the history of public health have had as dramatic an effect on tobacco control as the public release of the tobacco industry's previously secret internal documents. This review highlights the genesis of the release of these documents, the history of the document depositories created by the Minnesota settlement, the scientific and policy output based on the documents, and the use of the documents in furthering global public health strategies.
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