In New York State, the tobacco industry has organized and financially supported several hospitality and restaurant coalitions to represent their interests in debates over state and local tobacco control policy. These groups are employed in a wide range of strategies to oppose tobacco control legislation or regulations and champion preemptive state legislation.
The industry has financed advertising campaigns against smoking restrictions and lawsuits challenging Board of Health smoking regulations for these coalitions. Tobacco companies have also paid these organizations to lobby for preemptive state legislation and failed to report these expenditures in lobbying disclosure forms. Furthermore, these coalitions of restaurant and hospitality businesses support industry-sponsored legislation, or "Red Light/Green Light" legislation, which allows smoking in restaurants and is designed to compete with more stringent smoking restrictions.
The result is that tobacco industry interests are represented by a seemingly unrelated organization, lending more credibility to industry arguments. This is particularly valuable when the industry presents the argument that restaurant smoking restrictions will lead to a negative economic impact on the restaurant industry. Use of these groups undermines the policymaking process, as decision-makers generally assign credibility to information based on the source of information, which in the case of the tobacco industry, is concealed. In addition, this practice misleads policymakers to believe that their constituents feel strongly about smoking restrictions, as evidenced by organizing into coalitions and placing substantial resources into combating them, when in reality the majority of effort comes from the tobacco industry.
Learning Objectives: Identify industry-sponsored hospitality and restaurant organizations in New York State and analyze the industry's use of such organizations in opposition to tobacco control policies
Keywords: Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Control
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