The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5145.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 3:06 PM

Abstract #42340

Fighting fire with fire: Using web-based tobacco industry documents to enhance tobacco policy research and advocacy

Wendy A. Ritch, MA, MTS, Health Systems & Policy Division, University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, UMDNJ School of Public Health, Liberty Plaza, 335 George Street, Suite 2200, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2688, 723-235-9749,

Purpose: To demonstrate how anyone, from an experienced tobacco control activist to a moderately interested citizen, can locate documents from the web-based tobacco industry archives and use them for national, state, and local tobacco policy advocacy.

Methods: Data on tobacco policy issues in NJ were collected from the Tobacco Archives Internet site ( and analyzed for the purposes of demonstration and presentation in a conference setting.

Results: There are a number of ways that both experts and novices can use information contained in the tobacco industry’s document archives to promote better public health: 1) to enhance tobacco policy research and advocacy by providing concrete, historical examples of tobacco industry activities, interventions, and alliances; 2) to enrich testimony given by “expert witness” and “regular citizens” at national, state, and local legislative and budget hearings; 3) to release to national, regional, and local media outlets so they can expose tobacco industry efforts to undermine the public’s health; and 4) to educate tobacco control program staff so they may successfully counter the damage done by the tobacco industry in their communities.

Conclusion: Documents contained in the tobacco industry archives have been used to try tobacco corporations in various courts of law. Tobacco policy researchers, advocates, and the general public can now use the same documents to try tobacco companies in the court of public opinion. The information contained in the web-based tobacco industry documents provides a concrete means to put the “public” back into public health!

Learning Objectives: Participants in this session will be able to

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Internet Tools

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

Internet: Threat or Promise for Tobacco Control

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA