Created in 1977, the Cato Institute has grown into one of the nation's most influential libertarian think tanks. Cato takes an approach that flatly opposes what it views as arbitrary government intrusion into the private economic sphere and usually supports policy proposals that favor business interests over those that protect and promote public safety and welfare. This makes the institute one of the tobacco industry's most prominent "national allies."Another libertarian think tank that is a prominent tobacco industry ally is the Heartland Institute.
Coordinating with some of the most lucrative tobacco companies to limit government regulation of tobacco products and advertising in the United States since the early 1990s, the Cato Institute continues to work directly and indirectly with the tobacco industry to prevent smokefree policies from protecting public health. This is no surprise, as media mogul Rupert Murdoch sat on the Board of Directors at both Philip Morris and the Cato Institute. Murdoch's News Corporation owns numerous broadcasting and print media corporations, including Fox Broadcasting, which voted Philip Morris CEO Geoffrey Bible onto the board of News Corp in 1998.