Anne Landman's Collection
Redacted Material - (Pp.6747,6748,6749) Handwritten Marginalia by Sd Johe (RJR in-House Legal Counsel) Requesting Confidential Information From and Providing Confidential Legal Advice to RJR Personnel Concerning Regulatory, Legislative, Smoking and Health and Public Relations Matters.
Length: 4 pages
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This 1994 strategy paper from R.J. Reynolds (RJR) reveals the cigarette maker's combative attitude towards public actions to address the health issues surrounding secondhand smoke. RJR says, "Federal agencies, Congress and state and local governments are pursuing increasingly aggressive regulatory measures to limit exposure to second-hand smoke, citing an alleged risk or hazard to the non-smoking public...The stakes for RJRT and the industry have never been higher. We need to act immediately...And we need to join the battle or engage the enemy on as many fronts as possible."
The plan lists strategies for fighting public health efforts on this issue. Strategies include:
Convincing the public that "there is a controversy, case is not closed," that "your lifestyle could be next," and substituting the term "prohibition" for the words "smoking ban" in communications. Convening "a high-level think tank of philosophers, professors, scientific ethicists, sociologists, historians, economists, psychologists...to provide new ideas on the issue." Recruiting minority groups, hospitality associations, labor unions, libertarian groups and labor unions as tobacco industry allies on the secondhand smoke issue. Interestingly, a handwritten notation on the document's second page poses the question, "Do we have sufficient information to prove that smoker segregation is sufficient to eliminate NS [nonsmoker] risk--perceived or otherwise?" This reveals that RJR planned to advocate mere segregation of smokers in enclosed spaces without fully knowing whether such action really provides adequate health protection to nonsmokers.
RJR also proposes using joke books, cartoons, tabloids and country/rap songs as vehicles to disseminate the company's messages about secondhand smoke.
The cigarette maker further planned to put on its own "science and policy forum" about secondhand smoke to highlight "improper use of science" and "call for responsible use of science in formulating policy." RJR proposed that the forum "could be held in Washington, D.C. and sponsored by an institute or reputable think tank," to lend prestige and obscure tobacco industry involvement in the event. In formulating plans for the forum, RJR cites what it believes to be misguided previous public health issues:
"An overview of examples of where issues were driven by flawed science...such as... pesticides, asbestos, ozone depletion, acid rain and resource depletion."
Of course, all the examples RJR lists--"pesticides, asbestos, ozone depletion, acid rain and resource depletion"--are now well established as very real problems facing mankind.
One must consider the ramifications if corporations with these types of belief systems are able to influence government action and the formation (or lack thereof) of public health policies, especially ones pertaining to their products.
SECOND-HAND SMOKE PLAN APRIL 6, 1994 OVERVIEW:
Federal agencies, Congress and state and local governments are pursuing increasingly aggressive regulatory measures to limit exposure to second-hand smoke, citing an alleged risk or hazard to the non-smoking public. Despite the inability or unwillingness of these lawmakers and regulators to base their policy initiatives on sound, credible science, they are proceeding with growing momentum and gaining a degree of public support in the process. We believe this increasingly threatening regulatory environment warrants a more aggressive and intense public affairs outreach program to bring fairness and accountability to the policy making process.
The stakes for RJRT and the industry have never been higher. We need to act immediately, within the next 60-90 days, reaching a broad range of audiences. We should be prepared to take greater risks than ever before. And we need to join the battle or engage the enemy on as many fronts as possible. What follows are suggestions for doing just that.
OBJECTIVE: To ensure a more balanced public smoking policy
Create new messages and/or refine old ones Develop new communications vehicles/avenues Find new allies, energize the old ones Engage in the debate Visibility, visibility, visibility
PROJECT IDEAS: Refine messages:
Assign team to develop messages by 4/13/94 which appeal to the common sense of the general public: Science is weak, second-hand smoke is annoying but can be avoided, separation of smokers and non-smokers works, general public favors separation. Show there is a controversy, case is not closed. Show how unreasonable antis have become. Force them to moderate their positions or be held accountable for their extremism. Reveal unreasonableness of lifestyle discrimination, prohibition, extremism.
Reach the public to foster a more favorable public opinion climate... your lifestyle choices could be next...
Convene a high-level think tank of philosophers, professors, scientific ethicists, sociologists, historians, economists, psychologists, discuss the issue to provide insight or new ideas on the issue...
Develop new communications vehicles/avenues:
--Brochures on politics vs. science --Print, broadcast advertising --Direct mail, phone Debates, news media interviews, editorial boards, talk shows, op-eds, letters to the editor, cartoons, scholarly books on politics of science, joke books, use tabloids for science debate/discussion, country/rap songs.
News media is receptive to them. A few are in the works, but other ideas include blue-collar workers survey; economic impact of bans on various sectors...
Science and policy forums
Increase the call for responsible use of science in formulating policy through a forum to debate and draw attention to the issue. Open to the media, the event participants could include scientists, risk assessment experts, legislators critical of improper use of science, syndicated columnists, science writers and policy reporters, and current or former health officials.
The forum could be held in Washington, DC and sponsored by an institute or reputable think tank. Program would be broad enough to include a myriad of issues and concerns regarding various substances and issues, but would include SHS as a centerpiece and current example. Could also include:
An overview of examples of where issues were driven by flawed science or without scientific support, such as SHS, pesticides, asbestos, ozone depletion, acid rain and resource depletion.
A number of print or video news releases could be developed to publicize the event and its findings. Excerpts of comments and summary of the debate could be developed and distributed to media, think tanks, Congressional Research Service and mailed to legislators and their staff. Could be sponsored by Columbia Institute or Heartland Institute...
Hire an economist to conduct a major study of the economic impact of smoking bans on many sectors, with emphasis on travel, tourism, hospitality, retail.
Find new allies, energize the old:
Scientific/technical Hospitality/tourism/ COC/club owners Labor unions ACLU-type organizations Groups based on libertarian principles Smokers Suppliers Farm groups Media Employees, particularly sales force Minority groups Special interest groups, such as SCAN These groups could serve a variety of roles, including spokespersons, writers of op-eds and LTEs, and should be considered for signatories of certain types of advertising.
Engage in the debate. Be visible.
Whatever we decide, make sure we're in the debate often. Take all comers. Be aggressive. Leave no chair empty.
- R.J. Reynolds, Bliley set
- R.J. Reynolds
- R.J. Reynolds
- United States
- Named Organization
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Held hearings in 1994 to ban smoking in workplaces)OSHA opened hearings in September 1994 on a proposal that amounts to a virtual ban on smoking in every workplace in the nation
- Congressional Research Service (Criticized 1993 EPA ETS report)Criticized EPA's January 1993 report designating passive smoke as a carcinogen
- Columbia Institute
- Media Institute
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Secondhand smoke strategy
- secondhand smoke
- secondhand smoke strategy (Corporate strategy to deal with ETS issue)
- industry activity
- industry influence
- industry response
- industry sponsored conference
- mass media
- Front groups