Local control over tobacco use

Will this legislative session is a “love fest” between legislators of Oklahoma and the tobacco industry?

Here’s how to describe the deputy representative of the industry-lobbyist relationship years ago, when Big Tobacco usually have their way in the Capitol, and it’s kind of cozy industry hopes to revive this session. Twenty-five years after the leaders of Tulsa’s health movement began looking for local control of tobacco use, health advocates are still fighting for that right. Legislative measures that would allow local control is alive, but badly bruised. Big Tobacco does not come easily.

As a leader put it back in 1990: “We intend to resist at all costs, any attempt to force tobacco to cancel pre-emptive state of the local regulation of smoking.” The presence in the industry at the Capitol this session, said his position has not changed. But attitudes have changed some, so there is hope that Oklahoma will join the other 48 states that allow local control of tobacco consumption. So the question is: who will win this time? Big Tobacco - again? Or, finally, the people of Oklahoma?

There is reason to believe the majority of Oklahomans will not have problems with the local government. The experience of other cities that have local control of smoking status displays help attract tourists, conventions, and without prejudice to the restaurants and other businesses. Recent polling here shows that a significant majority of Oklahomans want smoke-free environment, and consider non-smokers rights “to breathe clean air is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke.

But even if most of us prefer to clean the air throughout the world, we need not get in our way. Big Tobacco has been the struggle of local control measures since Tulsa’s health and business leaders began to push in the mid-1980s. They hoped that the far-reaching bill introduced in 1987 will lead to local government - a right which has been won by local leaders across the country.

But when tobacco industry executives have learned the efforts of Tulsa, they flew into action and managed to not only significantly weaken the measure, but to add a provision that allowed strict local control - what is now known as the priority. Tobacco control battles of the era, described in detail in a fascinating study in power and influence in the industry call “from industry dominance of the progress in the legislative arena, the political and public health tobacco control in Oklahoma.”

A report in 2005, Andrew L. Spivak and Michael S. Givel, with the University Of Oklahoma Department Of Political Science, concluded: “The tobacco industry is one of the main political forces in Oklahoma through lobbying, direct campaign contributions, indirect contributions to the two major political parties and legislative political meetings, and gifts and entertainment. the tobacco industry has a centralized political organization in Oklahoma that supports and defends its political and market interests at the local and state government levels. Although the tobacco industry works to open in some political campaigns, it often works quietly behind the scenes, often working with various allied organizations, state and local political campaigns. ”

In the years after a major victory in 1987, representatives continued to bathe in their success, but remained vigilant, analysis suggests, OU. In 1989 Philip Morris document shout about the successes of the industry in Oklahoma. “Again, the love feast,” said a summary with a link to the MP-lobbyist relationships. “They’re all best friends.” The same document describes the lobbying team of Oklahoma, all former legislators as “absolutely superb” and “able to hold leadership” to make their bets. In 1992, the Tobacco Institute memo, said: “Industry Success in Oklahoma illustrates the benefits of a coordinated and well-planned efforts.”

By the mid-1990s, health advocates have learned some lessons and a new impetus to the abolition of priority have been started. Municipal support is growing, by this time; seven cities have passed resolutions asking the Legislative enable them to impose their own restrictions of tobacco. By 1996, the “revolutionary” bill that would restore local control was in the legislature, based on an impressive legislative support: a total of 44 House members and 14 senators signed on as sponsors. Even in this case-Gov. Frank Keating said he would sign the bill if it passed.

This political scenario is concerned the tobacco industry, which fought hard. Scare tactics that have led to believe the business will result in dire consequences of local government led to the mobilization efforts that are doomed to repeal the measures. Interestingly, while local government remains an elusive goal, progress in other tobacco control measures had been slowly forward in recent years. Significant control of tobacco consumption in public places and workplaces have been taken, and the major tobacco tax increase approved by voters in 2004.

Why worry the tobacco industry, if the city or state regulation of their products? Previously secret internal documents “shed light on why tobacco lobbyists wanted to take a local law,” said Tobacco Stops with me, in partnership with organizations looking for solutions of Oklahoma, tobacco-related problems. “The documents show that they knew that they (the leaders of the tobacco) faced a crisis of confidence when it came to influence local decisions. At the local level, policy-makers are closer to the people. As a result, they tend to be more responsive to the problems of the components and are far less likely to be influenced by lobbyists for the tobacco industry and its contribution to the campaign, “coalition completed.

See for yourself. Here are some of the documents with me Stop Tobacco Ads:
“Our record in defeating state smoking restrictions has been good enough. Unfortunately, our record in relation to local measures … has been somewhat less encouraging.” - Raymond Pritchard, Brown and Williamson, U.S. Tobacco and Candy Journal, July 17, 1986.
“But above all, we intend to resist at all costs, any attempt to force tobacco to cancel the displacement of the state of the local regulation of smoking.” - Memorandum from Stan Bowman, Tobacco Institute, on the “1991 Oklahoma Legislative Program” November 18, 1990.

“We could never win at the local level … so that the institution of tobacco and tobacco companies have always been a priority to preempt the field …” - Viktor Leonidovich Crawford, a former lobbyist for the tobacco institute, Journal of the American Medical Association, July 19, 1995. It is clear that the tobacco industry does not want to deal with us on the spot, which should make us want to correct all the more. If the priority is canceled, the city does not have to make tough laws. But if local residents want more control, it would be impossible. Why in the world would we want is not it?

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