The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4105.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 12:45 PM

Abstract #60687

Industry-sponsored smokers’ rights organizations: Building a grass-roots movement from the top down

Elizabeth A. Smith, PhD, Dept of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Box 0612, San Francisco, CA 94143-0612, 415-502-5238, and Ruth E. Malone, RN, PhD, Dept. of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, University of California, San Francisco, Box 1390, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390.

Since the late 1980s the tobacco industry has been attempting to organize smokers to affect local, national and international tobacco control policy in the U.S. and at least 10 European countries. Some “smokers’ rights” groups were directed by individual companies (R.J Reynolds and Philip Morris each had one in the U.S.) and others were cooperative (e.g., the European Smokepeace organizations). In the U.S., the National Smokers’ Alliance was centrally organized, while the Partisan movement was intended to be a self-sustaining grass-roots movement. The industry’s efforts were hampered by smokers’ disinclination to defend their habit; their support for clean indoor air laws and excise taxes; and the tensions between industry control and grass-roots participation. Most industry-funded organizations, despite the hopes of their financial parents, never achieved independence or sustainability. However, they engaged in political actions, affecting policy at many levels, and likely contributed to many of the industry’s political successes, including delayed or weakened clean indoor air policies and passage of “individual” (e.g., smokers’) rights laws. Although the industry has not been successful in launching a grassroots, sustainable, independent smoker’s rights movement, these groups must be considered in developing strategy for tobacco control policy. The documents reveal important details about industry successes and failures, which activists can exploit in future tobacco control campaigns.Funding: National Cancer Institute (CA90789),California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (11RT-0139).

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Advocacy, Tobacco Industry

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.

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The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA