Tobacco Institute Public Smoking Program State Activities Division

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

This document is the text of a 1988 speech given to the Tobacco Institute's Executive Committee expliaining how the Institute was handling an onslaught of proposals across the country to restrict public smoking. The speaker says that the Institute intends to change from "its current reactive posture to...a new, aggressive stance." He points out that opportunities exist "to put the anti-tobacco groups on the defensive" and an Institute objective is to "make THEM react and respond to OUR issues, to expend THEIR efforts and dollars to try and protect what is already on the books. The strategy includes "new approaches of repealing/modifying/rolling back existing legislation . . . of promoting ventilation . . . or IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] legislation . . . and smokers' rights legislation."

In discussing smokers' rights legislation, the speaker points out that smokers, in actuality, have few rights, are not a protected class and are unmotivated themselves to argue for places to smoke:

"As Stan Temko [a company attorney] will tell you later, smokers have few legal 'rights.' Smokers are not a protected class as are the aged, handicapped and minorities...Smokers, up to now, have been less than willing to stand up for themselves and argue for places to smoke..."

He also admits that the tobacco industry, working behind the scenes, formed a front group to protest smoking restrictions enacted by the Massachusetts Transportation Authority. The industry called the group "Commuters for Fair Treatment" and organized it to use to protest the smoking ban "in the media and before the legislature."

The speaker also says that the Tobacco Institute plans to "set the legislative agenda" in states it worked in, and "push public percpetion back" to allowing smoking in public areas.

Title Public Smoking Program State Activities Division Presentation to TI Executive Committee June 16, 1988
Date 19880616 (June 16, 1988)
Type Speech/Presentation
Bates TIDN0008891/8911
Collection Tobacco Institute
Pages 21

<tdo>search_term="on the defensive"</tdo> Additional suggested search terms: antis, proactive, "smokers rights"