Be forewarned lawmakers, more Nicoderm money is on its way to influence your vote.......Today as I was perusing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website. I happened upon an anouncement from RWJF. (did you know they own $5.4 billion in Nicoderm (J & J) stock? (per 2004 financial statement pg.8)).
The announcement, found here, states that as of January 2006 they have awarded new financial grants to help lawmakers mandate the use of their products Nicoderm & Nicoderm CQ.......er, I mean, help lawmakers see the "truth", that passage of more smoking bans are required.
......the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today announced $1.5 million in new grants to tobacco control initiatives at 17 sites nationwide.
The funds will support a range of efforts at the state and local level, using advocacy, communications and outreach to community partners to save lives by reducing tobacco use and exposure.
The grants represent the second round of funding for Tobacco Policy Change, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is investing $12 million in policy advocacy to reduce tobacco use and exposure in those communities, regions and states.....
Tobacco Policy Change is cultivating a new and diverse mix of partners who are well suited to engage communities around the tobacco challenges of the 21st century. This inclusive and broad-based network of advocates focuses on policy changes that have been shown to reduce tobacco use, including comprehensive clean indoor air laws, increased tobacco taxes,.......
We in Minnesota know that our own Governor Tim "used to be a Republican" Pawlenty bought into that last RWJF selling point increased tobacco taxes with some minor modification of course, calling it a "fee" instead of a tax.
The grant recipients are the usual suspects who have taken Nicoderm money in the past, in an effort to lobby lawmakers to vote in favor of smoking bans.....The American Lung, American Cancer, Clean Air Council, Lesbian Community Cancer Project....etc....etc. ........And let's not forget past multi-million dollar recipients like the American Medical Association which has received $10,896,463.00 (scroll down to grant detail) from RWJF to ensure that everyone in the medical community is on Robert Wood Johnson's side of the issue.
In opposition are the small individual property owners, employees, and little ol' me with this government air quality study proving that indoor secondhand smoke concentrations are 152 times safer than OSHA guidelines.....kind of hard to call something a "health hazard" when it's 152 times safer than, now ain't it?
But that's the dilemma you as our local politicians find yourselves in........on the one side is the rich and powerful special interest group demanding laws that financially benefit their interests.....and on the other side is the individual whose rights you were elected to uphold and serve. I guess it all comes down to a simple question: are you a servant of the people, or a slave to big money interests?
Oh.....and then there is that pesky little health department air quality study that proves secondhand smoke concentrations are 15 - 500 times safer than OSHA air quality standards.
What will you do?.........we'll all be watching, even a non-smoking asthmatic like me.