Table of Contents. Title. I. Tobacco Issues

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

Table of Contents. Title. I. Tobacco Issues

In 1986 the U.S. Department of Defense initiated smoking cessation programs in all branches of the armed services with a goal of reducing smoking prevalence among military personnel to 10%. This R.J. Reynolds document concludes, "Reports indicate that such goals are reachable," and then says, "RJR is seeking to limit the impact of cessation program." The financial impact, RJR determined, was "Possibly as high as $1.8 million annually" in cigarette sales. RJR's "Action Plan" was to "Posture [the cessation program] as discriminatory and unfair toward class of individuals loyal to and serving their country." Specific actions to fight the program were: "Organize and maintain Congressional opposition to continuation of [the program]. Continue contacts with Department of Defense officials and individual services to limit the impact of cessation programs." (Bates Page 507604615)

RJR also planned to fight measures that would allow states to mandate more informative health warnings on cigarette packages, saying "This would greatly increase RJR's exposure to adverse results in smoking and health litigation." RJR put the potential loss at "upward of several hundred million dollars annually." The overall strategy to fight these measures was to "Focus the debate on the success of [existing federally-mandated warning label] provision in communicating health warnings about smoking to the public." Their "fallback plan" was to throw communities a harmless bone, permitting laws to be passed instead that would only "Limit scope of preemption so that it does not prevent localities from reasonably regulating placement of billboards advertising cigarettes." (Bates page 507604591).

To fight cigarette excise taxes, RJR's overall plan was to "Focus debate on excise taxes as regressive, working man's tax rather than 'sin' taxes or user fee." Specific plans to oppose taxes included "Reintroduce legislative resolutions opposing increase in excise taxes," and "placing favorable op-ed articles from noted economists in major and select local papers." Costs to implement this plan included fees paid to anti-tax front groups, public relations groups, RJR employees and the Tobacco Institute.

For the issue of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), RJR says, "Increased smoking restrictions affect consumption, and the beginnings of lawsuit exposure in U.S. offer prediction of things to come internationally." RJR deems the financial impact of smoking restrictions to be "Substantial (expressed both in consumption fall-off and defense and political costs)..."

The paper also makes clear that Philip Morris was the leader in fighting efforts to regulate environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) worldwide: "Action Plan: Evaluate effectiveness and decide whether to join the current international activities led by PM." (Bates Page 507604593).

Date 19890210
Bates 507604587/4655
Pages 69