Internal tobacco industry documents indicate throughout the 1990s, the industry has been a major political force in Mississippi waging extensive political campaigns through campaign contributions, lobbying, public relations, litigation, and development of key allies to protect and advance its political and market interests. These ties included alliances with the state restaurant association, convenience stores, a statewide business "tort reform" group, chamber of commerce, and grocery, candy, and tobacco distributors. Another key alliance was also made with Mississippi's Black Caucus when the industry contributed money to the caucus and met with its leadership to build future legislative support.
Specific campaign efforts have included supporting tort liability caps and restrictions on placing initiatives (such as clean indoor air initiatives) on the ballot; while opposing tobacco excise taxes, Synar enforcement efforts with less effective enforcement campaigns, and Mississippi's 1994 lawsuit to recoup costs of Medicaid expenses for tobacco related illnesses.
When the industry settled the Medicaid case in 1997, legislative policy making began to favor public health. From the interest accruing from the settlement money, the legislature established a trust fund to pay for health care for the poor and elderly. A separate court order established a $62 million fund for a youth anti-tobacco advocacy and education campaign. This campaign also includes an anti-tobacco school nurse program, law enforcement, and youth counter marketing efforts. One unique feature of this campaign is funding of numerous Mississippi churches to assist (a number using religious predestination doctrine to justify their involvement) with the anti-tobacco efforts.
Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will have a deeper understanding of how the tobacco industry has operated politically in Mississippi in the 1990s. Participants will also be able to identify the general and specific tactics and policy goals of the industry as they effected tobacco control efforts and public health in Mississippi. This session will also provide participants with a detailed understanding of how the new Mississippi youth tobacco control program operates. The outcomes or actions participants can expect to demonstrate, as a result of the educational experience of this session will be to:
Keywords: Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Policy
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA