Restaurant workers spread disease
Restaurants and Smoking Restrictions. Restaurant Program Observations and Recommendations
This 1993 Tobacco Institute (TI) memo outlines sample tactics and strategies the industry could use to fight legislated and voluntary smoking bans in restaurants. It was written by Joanna Hamilton and Peter G. Sparber of the TI's consulting firm Sparber and Associates.
To prevent the public from becoming sympathetic towards restaurant workers who are exposed to secondhand smoke on their jobs, the authors recommend raising public antipathy towards restaurant workers (and particularly immigrant workers from South America, it seems) by portraying them as spreaders, rather than victims, of disease:
"Since restaurant workers are largely incapable of speaking out for themselves, we believe the only way that the 'restaurant workers as victims of ETS' issue can grow is if the anti-smokers can generate sympathy for them. But, given the public health problems reportedly caused by restaurant workers, it is ironic that restaurant workers could ever be seen as victims of any sort. The best way of countering the antis, is to encourage third parties to increase public awareness of the public health threat posed by restaurant workers. It may be hard to generate public concern over restaurant worker exposure to ETS, when the public is more concerned about contracting rare, Central American strains of tuberculosis from restaurant workers."
Although this document was written in 1993, many of the strategies it describes are currently in use in communities throughout the country that are trying to go smoke-free. One example is the strategy of portraying smoking bans as an attack on low-income workers and small businesses:
"IV. Portray restaurant smoking bans as hitting the 'little guy' by focusing the issue on down-scale restaurants. COMMENT: Banning smoking to protect public health is a less attractive issue when it becomes a case of upper middle class political activists telling blue-collar workers whether they can smoke a cigarette with their beer and hamburger platter."
There is also almost constant mention throughout the document of the need to deploy these strategies using third parties, like state and national restaurant associations.
Title RESTAURANTS AND SMOKING RESTRICTIONS. RESTAURANT PROGRAM OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Author HAMILTON,J # SPARBER AND ASSOCIATES; SPARBER,PG # SPARBER AND ASSOCIATES
Type REPORT; MEMO
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