|August 6, 2002
Web site Exposes Tobacco Industry's Campaign to "Use and Abuse" the Hospitality
TobaccoScam, a new web site launched by a UCSF tobacco researcher, targets
what it calls a 20-year, multi-million dollar effort by the tobacco industry to manipulate
the restaurant industry as a political front to defeat local and state smoke-free measures
and to protect tobacco sales worldwide.
As a direct
result of the tobacco industry efforts, today's restaurant and other hospitality employees
are exposed to more dangerous concentrations of secondhand smoke than any other group,
while the dining public runs health risks ranging from asthma to more lethal heart
attacks, according to information on the new TobaccoScam web site
The new site
was established by tobacco control researcher Stanton Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine
at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). It is hosted by the UCSF
Comprehensive Cancer Center.
once-secret tobacco industry documents and recently published medical and economic
research, the TobaccoScam site ( www.TobaccoScam.ucsf.edu ) reveals that the tobacco
industry, in an attempt to block smoke-free measures nationwide, has repeatedly made
groundless claims about the economic impact of smoke-free measures and has disputed the
health dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.
throughout the United States (and summarized at ) show that a strong majority of diners
want all restaurants to be smoke-free, according to Glantz, but restaurant associations
lobby state legislatures and city councils to block smoke-free measures that often apply
to other workplaces and public areas. Some of the associations are "front groups
invented and funded by Big Tobacco's PR firms," according to Glantz. Misled that
smoke-free measures will harm business, restaurant owners are left with unhealthy
conditions, growing legal liability, and higher maintenance and labor costs, the web site
On the web site,
restaurant owners speak out about the benefits of a smoke-free eating place and the
tobacco industry tactics to discourage them. The owner's of Pierre's in Morristown, New
Jersey, say "We've been consistently busier since we went smoke-free ten years ago.
And we'd never go back."
of O'Neal's Lincoln Center restaurant says, "Big Tobacco has been conning the
restaurant business for years Don't be a sucker. Go smoke-free."
"It's time restaurant owners start hearing the truth about what the science says and
learn exactly how Big Tobacco uses and abuses them. Restaurant people are very sharp, but
they've been treated to the Big Lie that smoke-free measures will cost them business. The
truth is, every reliable economic study finds going smoke-free has no effect on restaurant
business -- and it protects the public health."
web site quotes tobacco industry documents describing the tobacco industry's strategies to
manipulate U.S. and foreign restaurant industry and hospitality associations. It also
warns against the tobacco industry's attempts to promote expensive new ventilation systems
and restaurant remodels to accommodate smokers, a "political strategy" that
costs restaurant owners much more than simply going smoke-free. TobaccoScam offers access
to authoritative health and economic studies, many available in their entirety for the
first time online, and lists front groups and ventilation consultants connected with the
should hospitality workers and patrons be exposed to dangerous levels of secondhand smoke
they're protected from elsewhere," asks Glantz, co-author of The Cigarette Papers and
Tobacco War. "This ranks with the most cynical maneuvers Big Tobacco has ever pulled,
like swearing to Congress that nicotine is not addictive." Glantz plans to publicize
the TobaccoScam web site with full-page advertisements running in major restaurant industry
trade magazines starting mid-August. The ads will feature restaurateurs from across the
country endorsing the smoke-free.
The web site
and ad campaign are supported by grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.
UCSF News Wallace Raven