Smokers' rights

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

"Smokers rights" is a term used to spur what appears to be a "grassroots" American political movement, created and abetted behind the scenes primarily by tobacco companies, to preserve the social acceptability of smoking and preserve smoking in public places.

Since 1979, the tobacco industry has created or planned "smokers’ rights groups" (SRGs) in at least 26 countries worldwide. Realizing that public acceptance of its messages about secondhand smoke depended on the source of those messages, Philip Morris proposed adopting a variety of personas: "sometimes we will need to speak as independent scientists, scientific groups and businessmen; at other times we will talk as the industry; and, finally, we will speak as the smoker." Organized and predominantly funded by tobacco companies, the SRGs' purposes were to maintain "controversy" about secondhand smoke in the social arena and to focus debate on the smoker rather than the tobacco industry or the smoke. SRGs opposed clean indoor air laws and policies on transportation, in workplaces, and in other public spaces, and sometimes took on other issues, such as tobacco taxes and "discrimination" against smokers.[1]

SourceWatch Resources

Tobacco industry documents

External links



  1. Elizabeth A. Smith and Ruth E. Malone, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California San Francisco "We will speak as the smoker": the tobacco industry's smokers' rights groups, European Journal of Public Health, October 25, 2006
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