Tobacco industry use of phone banks in campaigns

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

An untitled, September 14, 1989 handwritten letter reveals a tobacco industry informant desperately attempting to influence a phone-in television news poll that asked viewers to call in and say whether or not they favored banning smoking on airline flights or not. This informant reports that NO smokers the TV station interviewed at the airport responded that they would stop flying if a smoking ban was enacted. The correspondent writes: "Alas, the news showed smokers interviewed at Sea-Tac [Seatlle/Tacoma] International Airport. NOT ONE said he/she would refrain from flying! Smokers always seem to be WIMPS when interviewed on TV ..." But the most revealing passage is this one: "I phoned in 100 times and got the 'beep' indicating vote recorded. A friend called in 672 times! I didn't tune into KOMO-TV until around 6:30 PM and as I recall, the poll was 60/40 then! Why no changes by next morning?"[1]


  1. V. Waite Untitled letter sent to Kurt Malmgren, September 14, 1989. Tobacco Institute Bates No.TNWL0034897/4898

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