It's not surprising that big tobacco is funding attack ads around the primary election for California's State Board of Equalization, which regulates state cigarette sales and oversees $40 billion in tax collections.
British American Tobacco (BAT) has suffered a major legal setback after a Sydney judge found that the company's "document retention policy," under which sensitive documents were shredded, had been developed "in furtherance of the commission of a fraud." In a case before the New South Wales Dust Diseases Tribunal, Justice Jim Curtis heard uncontested evidence from former BAT solicitor Fred Gulson that the policy was designed so that the company could shred potentially damaging documents.
"Big Tobacco's toughest fight in years is being waged by a band of highly paid, talented and experienced former legislators, political appointees and close friends of the most powerful people in Texas.
The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is supporting a bid by the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association to amend the Ohio constitution to exempt businesses such as bars, restaurants and bowling alleys from smoking restrictions. The amendment would also override a number of local ordinances banning indoor smoking. To gather 300,000 signatures to put the amendment on the ballot in November, the business lobby is running web advertisements offering $1.50 for each signature collected.
As the Center for Media and Democracy has noted, the tobacco industry pioneered many deceptive public relations tactics, casting a long shadow over science and health reporting, as well as the public's right to know.
Before its fall from grace, tobacco industry created front groups courted journalists and obscured damning scientific evidence. But, inadvertently, the industry is now helping independent researchers and reporters understand how PR is used to obscure facts and shape public debates.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention, and Floridians for Youth Tobacco Education warn that the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting Latino children.