A Guide to the Patty Young Papers, 1983-1997
Patty Young is an anti-smoking advocate, specifically focusing on passive smoking (commonly known as second-hand smoke) and smoking on airplanes. A flight attendant since 1966, Patty Young started her one-woman crusade against smoking on airplanes in 1969. At first her crusade focused mainly on the dangers of cigarette fires. This concern, however, soon changed to encompass the health concerns of passive smoking, since young flight attendants who had never smoked were continually diagnosed with chronic and life threatening health issues, such as smoke intolerance, sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer. Young herself has many health issues due to constant exposure to tobacco smoke on airplanes. Congress banned smoking on domestic flights in 1990 mainly due to Young’s testimony on passive smoking.
Young and Norma Broin, a fellow flight attendant diagnosed with lung cancer at age 34, filed a landmark $5 billion class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry in 1991. Miami based lawyer Stanley Rosenblatt handled the case, Broin v. Philip Morris. By 1996, they were joined in this lawsuit by 60,000 non-smoking flight attendants. The tobacco industry settled with the plaintiffs for over $300 million in 1997. The settlement, among other things, created the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, a non-profit medical and scientific research foundation dedicated to the sponsorship of research for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and cure of diseases and conditions caused by second-hand smoke. Though they settled the lawsuit, the tobacco industry did not acknowledge the harmful nature of second-hand smoke. Broin v. Philip Morris created a precedent for similar legal action against the tobacco companies.
Stolberg, Sheryl. “Leading the Air War on Cigarettes,” Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1996.
Navarro, Mireya. “Cigarette Makers Reach Settlement in Nonsmoker Suit,” New York Times, October 11, 1997.
Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. “History.” Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. http://www.famri.org/about_famri/history.html (accessed June 17, 2010).
Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. “Statements.” Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. http://www.famri.org/about_famri/mission_statement.html (accessed June 17, 2010).
Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. “Flight Attendants’ History.” Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. http://www.famri.org/flight_attendants/flight_attendants_history.html (accessed June 17, 2010).
Correspondence, reports, transcripts, testimony, news clippings, printed materials, photographs, videocassettes, and audio material comprise the Patty Young Papers, 1983-1997, which document Patty Young’s involvement with the anti-smoking movement, specifically her crusade to protect flight attendants from the effects of second-hand smoke.
The papers contain material concerning Young’s class action lawsuit against the tobacco industry and Young’s testimonies before Congress in 1984 and 1994. Furthermore, the papers contain information and publications from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants; proceedings of anti-smoking conferences and symposia; material on aircraft cabin safety, air quality, and the Airliner Cabin Air Quality Act; and anti-smoking literature. Audiovisual material in the collection concerns Young’s efforts to ban smoking on airplanes and includes tapes of several appearances on Oprah and other current affairs shows, radio spots, and photos from American Airlines.
The collection is open for research use.
A portion of these papers is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Patty Young Papers, 1983-1997, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers