1989 Draft Tobacco Institute Strategy Speech

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

This 1989 draft speech from the Tobacco Institute is a gold mine of strategies that the industry uses to fight cigarette taxes, smoking restrictions and advertising bans. The author, apparently Kurt Malmgren of the State Activities division of the Institute, brags about the industry's "hardball lobbying tactics" and its success at blocking thousands of pieces of public health legislation across the country by "coordinating industry efforts with...state legislators, mayors, county commissioners and other elected officials." Malmgren says the industry's efforts "not only stopped seriously damaging model legislation and weakened most anti-tobacco resolutions, but helped us get positive reports, seminars and resolutions from some of those groups."

The speech discusses the tobacco industry's strategy of taking attention away from tobacco by turning the secondhand smoke issue into one of "indoor air quality," and turning the issue of advertising bans into an issue of job loss, saying that sign painters would lose their jobs if an ad ban passed--and then getting sign painters to testify as much before legislatures. The speech also says the tobacco industry's "Achilles heel" is in local restrictions. It refers to state legislatures as "our home court," and the "one place" where the industry can "take full advantage of all the resources [it] can bring to bear" on an issue. The writer boasts that in state legislatures the industry itself can "set the agenda," and even brags about how in Oklahoma, the industry passed a bill that required state agencies to CREATE smoking areas, because "the current law only says such areas are allowed." The speech boasts about "using allies like the Colorado Restaurant Association" to help the industry do its bidding, brags about the industry's strategy of "pass[ing] indoor air quality bills that minimize attention to smoking restrictions," and even boasts about how the Tobacco Institute got the governor of the state of Washington to sign an indoor air quality bill that the industry itself drafted (Pg. 55):

...The same is true in our work to pass indoor air quality bills that minimize attention to smoking restrictions. In 10 states, we are working to put laws on the books that address the IAQ [indoor air quality] issue. The Washington State governor signed such a bill...a measure we wrote.

This document describes the industry's strategies, "grassroots" tactics, influence, its hold on state legislatures and successful use of the American system of government to fight public health efforts to control tobacco.

Title: T-A-X-E-S
Company/source collection: Tobacco Institute
Document Date: 21 Jun 1989
Length: 75 pages
Bates No. TIOK0027659/7733
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/fav91f00