Tobacco industry manipulation of the hospitality industry to maintain smoking in public places

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Tobacco industry manipulation of the hospitality industry to maintain smoking in public places by J. V. Dearlove, S. A. Bialous, S. A. Glantz, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Institute for Health Policy Studies, Cardiovascular Research Institute, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA Tobacco Control 2002;11:94-10

Summary of published paper:

This paper describes how the tobacco industry used the "accommodation" message to mount an aggressive and effective worldwide campaign to recruit hospitality associations, such as restaurant associations, to serve as the tobacco industry's surrogates in fighting against smoke-free environments. For the paper, the authors analyzed tobacco industry documents publicly available on the internet as a result of litigation in the USA. Documents were accessed between January and November 2001.

The authors found that the tobacco industry, led by Philip Morris, made financial contributions to existing hospitality associations or, when it did not find an association willing to work for tobacco interests, created its own "association" in order to prevent the growth of smoke-free environments. The industry also used hospitality associations as vehicles for programs promoting "accommodation" of smokers and non-smokers, which ignore the health risks that secondhand smoke creates for employees and patrons of hospitality venues.

The authors conclude that by promoting a myth of lost profits, the tobacco industry has fooled the hospitality industry into embracing expensive ventilation equipment, while in reality 100% smoke-free laws have been shown to have no effect on business revenues, or even to improve them. The tobacco industry has effectively turned the hospitality industry into its de facto lobbying arm on clean indoor air. Public health advocates need to understand that, with rare exceptions, when they talk to organized restaurant associations, they are often effectively talking to the tobacco industry and must act accordingly.

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