Tobacco industry activity in Rhode Island

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

A 1990 Tobacco Institute document dealing with industry activity in Rhode Island shows that the tobacco industry introduces legislation as a defensive weapon against public health activities, and as a public relations effort. This document reveals that in 1990 in the state of Rhode Island in the U.S., the industry planned to introduce a bill that would create uniform sales, sampling and vending machine regulations, and that would "preempt local ordinances and forbid bans."

The Tobacco Institute states that the primary purpose of the bill was to "cut off the possibility" that citizens could enact bills regulating tobacco more strictly. It further states the strategic and public relations reasons for introducing this bill:

"This legislation is unlikely to be enacted; it is intended to dissipiate the energies of the anti-tobacco forces and put them on the defensive."

The bill was also a public relations tactic aimed at currying favor among legislators. As the document states, "The efforts to promote this legislation should contribute to legislator's positive perception of the industry as concerned about the minors issue."

The document further reveals that the industry could expect little or no support from other industries for this legislation, and that the industry's "It's the Law" program is a vital tool that the industry uses to gain credibility and distract legislator's attention to a bill that, by their own description, is essentially nothing more than a pro-tobacco industry public relations strategy.

Title Pro-Active Proposal Minors Rhode Island
Date 19900927 (September 27, 1990)
Type Report
Bates TIOR0019747/9748
Collection Tobacco Institute
Pages 2

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