Tobacco Industry Front Groups
Since Big Tobacco is generally perceived as being untrustworthy in the public’s eye, tobacco companies will often employ more credible third parties to promote their viewpoints and further their agendas. This can be done either by tricking existing organizations into becoming industry mouthpieces, or creating new organizations to do their dirty work.
When it comes to smoke-free by-laws and the fight for clean air in the hospitality industry, Big Tobacco has managed to coax many legitimate organizations into fighting their fight. Such organizations include hotel associations, restaurant and foodservice associations, and bar and pub associations. Typically, the tobacco industry will send someone in to stir up fears of economic doom and gloom, and then provide funding to the organization to fight against the by-law process. For example, the program “Courtesy of Choice” was created to channel tobacco money into fighting against clean air by-laws. Beware! You may not even think this is happening in your own community, only to discover at the 11th hour that Big Tobacco has been there all along, quietly working away to destroy any progress you may be making. Pro-smoking groups have also been in vocal opposition to smoke-free by-laws, posting tobacco industry-generated propaganda on their websites and generally stirring up fears and prophesying doom and gloom. For a better idea of what the industry and pro-smoking groups have been up to both in Canadian communities and abroad, visit the following sites:
- Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco (OCAT). Opposition to Smoke-free Policies: Organizations and Memorandum to Interested Parties: PUBCO.
- Non-Smokers’ Rights Association (NSRA). Exposing Recent Tobacco Industry Front Groups and Alliances (October 2008)
- Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada (PSC). The Tobacco Industry and Smoking Restrictions. and Behind the Scenes: How the Companies Tried to Use “Ventilation” Solutions to Block Restrictions on Smoking
- Tobacco Scam. Target Restaurants: Big Tobacco’s Motives and Target Restaurants: Tobacco Allies and Fronts. (Scroll down past the American table to “hospitality associations outside the United States)
- Pub and Bar Coalition of Canada (PUBCO).