Building a Public Constituency

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

Building a Public Constituency

This 1987 R.J. Reynolds (RJR) strategy document lays out the cigarette company's lofty plans "to foster the largest, most vocal constituency of individuals in America." It reveals RJR as a major force behind organizing, training and equipping smokers rights groups throughout the 50 United States. The idea was to create a grassroots network in favor of the tobacco industry that the industry could mobilize to oppose issues like smoking restrictions and increases in cigarette taxes.

RJR called the plan its "Partisan Movement" or "Partisan Project." A goal of the plan was to create Smokers' Rights Groups "in all metro areas over 25,000 population and other targeted areas" throughout the United States.

RJR states:

By year's end, 550 Smokers' Rights Groups will have been formed in 500 (70%) of the 750 metro areas with a population of 25,000 plus (in all 50 states). An additional 50 groups will have been formed in smaller communities away from these metro areas. These groups vary in age, size and quality, and some have been combined into metro-area groups..."

RJR further planned to "Develop tools and programs to assist Smokers' Rights Groups to become more effective, credible and better organized." The tools included videos, leadership training seminars, and "Use [of] RJR Public Relations/TI resources to help train spokespersons."

RJR also planned to tap minorities to join these programs:

Develop other grass roots resources to respond to key issues including resources from areas now undeveloped (e.g., minorities)


Use resources, programs and data generated by these programs to improve penetration in untapped areas, e.g., key center city areas, among minorities, etc.

Date 19870000
Bates 512683668/3704
Collection RJ Reynolds
Pages 37

<tdo>search_term=Partisan Project</tdo> Also try searching on "Partisan Movement"