Tobacco Industry Programs and Front Groups
Please find below responses to October's question
re: examples of suspected industry front groups posing as restaurant associations,
pub owner associations, and hospitality coalitions.
The tobacco industry's strategy of using restaurant groups to thwart
smoke-free policies is indeed a worldwide one (of which its "Courtesy
of Choice" program is an key element). In countries where smoke-free
policies are a popular tobacco control measure, as in the U.S., industry
front groups are especially abundant. In some countries, however, the
tobacco industry may not yet have felt the "need" to use front
groups -- because it gets what it wants via alternative means or it has
not yet been "threatened" by proposals for smoke-free legislation.
CAMEROON - Alphonse Issi, Mouvement National des Consommaturs
Outside of corporate associations run by the tobacco industry, e.g. the
women's association of BAT (which shares an office with the company),
we do not know of any associations or coalitions funded by the tobacco
industry. If they exist, they work undercover, as Cameroon law forbids
CANADA - Christine Finlan, Coalition For a Tobacco-Free Peterborough
The "Courtesy of Choice" program stickers and logo were displayed
on the door of a local restaurant in the City of Peterborough, Ontario,
Canada. The City passed a 100% smoke- free by-law in 1997 with implementation
in 2000. The by-law was amended in October, 2000 to include responsibilities
for owners and operators to ensure compliance with the by-law. While this
restaurant was not around when the by-law was passed, the owner of this
restaurant became the most vocal opponent to the by-law as the implementation
date approached and when the by-law was being enforced. The owner adapted
the slogan and logo into buttons that staff wore in the restaurant (Restore
Freedom of Choice) and they were available for sale at the cash. The owner
was recently found guilty under the by-law and charged a fine of $2,000
+ $500 victim surcharge. To the best of my knowledge that is the only
obvious involvement with that program here in our community of Peterborough.
The restaurant in question closed last month, of course the owner claimed
it was due to the by-law.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Jiri Kozak, Czech Committee of EMASH
In the Czech Republic there is not any tobacco industry front group posing
as a pub or restaurant association, as I know. Unfortunately people are
allowed to smoke in any pub or restaurant in the country though there
is a law, ten years old, which [bans] smoking during main meals
breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unfortunately it is followed nowhere. The
new bill "on protection from harmful effects of smoking, alcohol
and other drugs," which has been passed by the Government but not
by the Parliament yet, asks for 40% places in restaurants and pubs for
nonsmokers with separate air condition (but more than 70% adult population
are nonsmokers!!). My opinion is that tobacco industry does not need any
front group their groups are very successful lobby groups.
UGANDA - Phillip Karugaba, TEAN
We have "Courtesy of Choice" in Uganda. It was launched on May
30th 2000 by Robert Lees, President of International Hotel and Restaurant
Association, in conjunction with the Hotel & Catering Association
of Uganda. The launch was sponsored by BAT and was attended by the Minister
for Tourism, Trade & Industry Akaki Jovino, on the eve of World No
Tobacco Day. The Minister estimated that a ban on smoking in public places
would cause a loss of revenue for the hotels and restaurants by up to
Courtesy of Choice is featured in prime hotels and restaurants. Little
green and white cards are placed on the tables indicating smoking and
non-smoking sections. According to one hotel manager, his staff were taken
for training on how to locate the smoking and non-smoking sections. This
was after my query on why the smokers had the best tables. I have also
seen Courtesy of Choice in Mombasa, Kenya this year. This was at a beach
resort. The little cards are much the same as are used in Uganda.
URUGUAY - Eduardo Bianco, Sindicato Médico del Uruguay
In Uruguay, particularly in the capital Montevideo, many bars and restaurants
have signs with the message "Living together in harmony" that
mark the smokers' areas and non smokers' area. The signs are, evidently,
a well organized campaign by the [tobacco] industry that has the support
of: the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Uruguay, the Hotel
and Dining Corporation, the Chamber of the Hotel and Tourist Industry
of the Uruguay, and the International Hotel and Restaurant Association.
We don't know if the industry has a similar relation with the Association
of Bars and affiliates, but it is very probable that it does.On October
22, in the country's principle newspaper, there was an advertisement entitled
"LIVING TOGETHER RESPECTFULLY" which said: " Respect is
the base of the human relations. The key is in every person knowing from
his/her rights come. We respect the spaces for smokers and not smokers.
A message of British American Tobacco". In the legend it says: for
more information on smoking, visit our page www.bat.com.uy.
USA - SC - Cindy Ogier, South Carolina Department of Alcohol
and Other Drug Abuse Services
I know the South Carolina Hospitality Association was very involved in
blocking the City of Charleston from imposing an ordinance for smoke-free
restaurants. [Cindy also notes that the Iowa State Daily reported on Oct.
that Philip Morris is providing financial backing to seven restaurant
owners in Ames, Iowa who are fighting a city ordinances banning smoking
USA - CO - Bonnie Mapes, Denver Public Health, Tobacco Prevention
and Control Program
GASP of Colorado (the Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution) has compiled
a list of tobacco lobbyists and tobacco front groups operating on our
state. For a copy contact firstname.lastname@example.org
INFORMATION ON OTHER PROVEN (AND PROBABLE) FRONT
"Guest Choice Network" - http://www.guestchoice.com
A coalition of restaurant and tavern operators that fights government
restrictions on alcohol and tobacco. Sponsors the "Nanny Awards,"
given to "those activists, organizations and bureaucrats who work
tirelessly to restrict our food, beverage and lifestyle choices."
Shares same address with Employment Policies Institute (http://www.epionline.org)
which fights increases in the minimum wage and opposing health insurance
reform. Richard Berman is the Executive Director of both organizations.
Tom Lauria, who used to work at the Tobacco Institute, speaks on behalf
of Guest Choice.
FORCES International - http://www.forces.org/index.htm.
One of their action alerts calls on people to write letters to Honolulu
city council (U.S. - HI) members urging them NOT to support a restaurant
smoking ban because "Hawaii is very dependent on the Japanese tourists,
and most of them smoke. Will they want to come to a city where they cannot
be comfortable and smoke?" See http://www.forces.org/alert/files/honolulu.htm.
For a related website, with links to affiliated groups in Canada, Italy,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, and the U.S., see http://www.worldsmokersday.org/
Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control
P.O. Box 19405 ~ Washington,
Tel: +1 202-387-8030 ~ Fax: +1 202-234-5176