The tobacco industry is very worried about SHS restrictions, and has indicated in internal documents that the passive smoking issue is “the most dangerous development to the viability of the tobacco industry that has yet occurred.”[1] The bottom line is that smoke-free by-laws and legislation hurt tobacco’s bottom line. o­ne Philip Morris USA internal study[2], obtained in the discovery process during litigation, says:

Total prohibition of smoking in the workplace strongly affects industry volume. Smokers facing these restrictions consume 11% – 15% less than average and quit at a rate that is 84% higher than average.”

For the sake of brevity, what follows is a short list of typical arguments against smoke-free by-laws put forth by the tobacco industry and its mouthpieces.

  • “Second-hand smoke is not a health danger…”
  • “Bars and restaurants will lose revenues, will have to close, and proprietors will have trouble feeding their families…”
  • “Ventilation can accommodate both smokers and non-smokers alike…”
  • “Customers will travel to other municipalities to eat out or to go to bars…”
  • “Government should not be micro-managing businesses”
  • “This is a rights issue…government does not have the right to tell people where they can or can’t smoke…”
  • “Smoke-free by-laws are a covert attempt to stop people from smoking…”
  • “Tobacco is a legal product and smoking shouldn’t be regulated like this…”
  • “Municipalities do not have the authority from the province to pass this type of legislation…”
  • “The marketplace can decide how many smoke-free restaurants and bars there should be…”

To face the threat that smoking restrictions pose, tobacco companies have reached new lows in the name of protecting profits. Read o­n to learn about some of the industry’s tactics that have been used in other communities to fight against clean air legislation.

[1] Roper Organization. (1978). Poll. A study of public attitudes toward cigarette smoking and the tobacco industry in 1978, Volume 1.
[2] Philip Morris USA. (1992). Inter-office memo. Impact of Workplace Restrictions on Consumption and Incidence. 
[3] Scollo, M., Lal, A., Hyland, A. & Glantz, S. (2003). Review of the quality of studies o­n the economic effects of smoke-free policies o­n the hospitality industry. Tobacco Control, 12, 13-20.

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