Special interest funded lobbying vs. the property rights argument…..one is a non-starterRecently I had a discussion with somebody about the significance or lack thereof, of the Johnson & Johnson Company’s (Nicoderm CQ) lobbying efforts and influence in forcing passage of smoking ban legislation thru their politically active organization the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
Many want to argue that violation of private property rights ought to be the central issue and I would agree….but anyone who’s followed smoking ban legislation around the country knows this argument is a non-starter. But it is exactly the argument smoking ban proponents hope we get mired in, for it distracts from the lack of scientific evidence* their argument “for the greater good” builds upon . The property rights argument also distracts attention from what ought to be a centrally highlighted fact; that these lobbying efforts are funded by very large pharmaceutical nicotine interests.
I’ve provided detailed paper trails on the fact that RWJF has funded many of the organizations, which lobby our lawmakers to pass smoking ban legislation. I have also provided detailed paper trails that the studies used to lobby our lawmakers about the “hazards” of secondhand smoke have also been funded by the very same RWJF. Further, I have provided detailed information as to the financial and organizational ties RWJF has to the Johnson & Johnson Company; and Johnson & Johnson’s product line which includes Nicoderm CQ manufactured by J & J for Glaxo Smith Kline. These very partisan tactics designed to financially benefit the organizations which lobby for smoking ban legislation, ought to alone be enough reason to halt future property rights violations in its tracks. But we keep getting distracted into an argument of rights, which most lawmakers clearly seem uninterested in upholding. So let us concentrate on an argument we can clearly demonstrate…..namely that a special interest group is lobbying for legislative change, using data by universities and non-profits funded by the very same special interest group; all so that they may enjoy a competitive “government mandated” market advantage.
Look, Pioneer Press columnist Craig Westover is correct when he states, regarding the American Lung, American Cancer, and all the other non-profits' original agenda of convincing smokers to quit smoking, “...Your cause is just, Bob. Your methods are despicable..” For several decades the non-profit health organizations convinced smokers to quit through advertising and other campaigns, and they were very successful, smoking has been on a steady decline since the 70’s. The non-profits' methods changed to despicable when they accepted RWJF funding in the mid 90’s. After accepting special interest funding from the alternative nicotine product manufacturing companies like J & J and RWJF, the marching orders were changed in an attempt to impact more smokers and include involuntary as well as voluntary participants. The collateral damage to the hospitality industry due to smoking bans was perhaps unintentional at first, but now is well known, yet ignored. If you read comments from previous posts you will even find excuses and rationalization, by the American Lung communications director no less, on how failure of hospitality businesses have nothing to do with smoking bans but the already prevailing economic trends….money it seems can buy almost anything…even the collective conscience.
So I will continue to provide the scientific facts about secondhand smoke as proven by an unbiased municipal environmental health department, as well as highlight the special interest funding designed to provide a competitive “government mandated” market advantage for Johnson & Johnson. And I will present these facts on behalf of those fighting smoking ban legislation here in Minnesota and all other parts of the country. If Johnson & Johnson and its financial beneficiaries feel justified in putting an end to my industry and job, then I am obligated to present the facts which expose their despicable motives for what they are.........purely financial.
*2003-2004 Environmental Health Department air quality tests prove secondhand smoke levels in bars and restaurants is 150 times lower (safer than) OSHA permissible exposure limits require.
Contact me if you would like assistance in battling smoking ban legislation in your area........have the facts, will travel.