Tobacco industry activity in Oregon

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

A June, 1996 tobacco industry document titled Proposed Advertising Strategy to Defeat Measure 70, is authored by "Fairness Matters to Oregonians." "Fairness Matters" was a front group headed by Mark W. Nelson, the campaign director for the Tobacco Institute's Oregon Executive Committee, which was supported through contributions from Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Companies. Nelson also owned a company called Public Affairs Counsel (PAC), which contracted with tobacco companies to defeat ballot measures. In another document, Nelson boasts, "PAC has successfully managed and defeated every anti-tobacco initiative put forward in Oregon since 1988." He also boasts that PAC "lobbies on behalf of RJR and the Southland Corporation."[1]

The industry's political strategy regarding such initiatives is specifically aimed at confusing voters, as demonstrated by the following quotes:

"Make our hat whiter, make their hat blacker. Through involvement in two health care initiatives, blur tobacco's relationship to the health care community."


"Create an environment where there are some doctors on our side (of health care reform) and some doctors against us--make voters a little uneasy about who the good guys really are." It also makes clear that prime-time television advertising is of the highest priority in such campaigns, and in the competition for this time, as the document brashly says, "cash is king..." We also notice a secretiveness about disclosing the client who is actually running the ads: "We cannot determine actual availabilities [of advertising air time] without disclosing our client..."[2]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources

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  1. Public Affairs Counsel Proposal Proposed Campaign Plan: Defest of Ballot Measure to Increase Oregon's Tobacco Excise Tax (Revised) Report/budget. January 24, 1996. Bates No. 2062523122/3156
  2. Fairness Matters to Oregonians Proposed Advertising Strategy to Defeat Measure 70 Report. June 13, 1996. 16 pp. Bates No.TIOR0020292/0307

[Category:Tobacco industry strategy]]