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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To provide the audience with an entertaining and informative presentation describing the Tobacco Institute's PR campaign to deceive the public about the risks of secondhand smoke.
Methods: This presentation draws on thousands of documents and audio and video clips from the Tobacco Institute that was turned over to the New York State Attorney General's office and subsequently to the New York State Archives (NYSA). The authors have spent the last 4 years scanning and indexing the material in this collection, excerpts of which can be found online at: http://tihistory.com.
Results: Beginning in the early 1970's the Tobacco Institute helped orchestrate a massive disinformation campaign about the dangers of secondhand smoke in an effort to delay and influence public opinion and policies to regulate indoor smoking. This public relations campaign included attacks on public health officials who raised concerns the risks of secondhand smoke; training and deployment of spokes people including scientists to downplay claims that secondhand smoke was harmful, support a bogus scientific research, and aggressive lobbying of government officials at all levels of government to discourage adoption of smoke free policies. The tactics used by the TI to address public concerns about secondhand smoke were nearly identical to those that they had employed 20 years earlier to address health concerns about active smoking.
Conclusion: This presentation leaves no doubt that the tobacco industry conspired to lie to the public about the risks of secondhand smoke. Their amazing lies are shown in living color!