FORCES (Fight Ordinances & Restrictions to Control & Eliminate Smoking) is a smokers' rights organization that seeks to oppose smokefree workplace legislation through action alerts, web postings, letters, and other communications with members.
For years FORCES has claimed to be a membership organization that did not receive tobacco funding. Internal tobacco industry documents are inconclusive on this point, although documents do show that FORCES and the tobacco industry have worked in partnership in the past.
For example, a 1997 fax from Gian Turci of FORCES Canada to the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council thanks the group for its hospitality. The memo states, "I am sure that this will mark the beginning of a good and mutually beneficial cooperation between FORCES, other smokers' rights groups, and the industry. However, I will keep our communications confidential for obvious reasons."
However, a 1999 Philip Morris (PM) memo indicated that FORCES did not accept tobacco industry funding.
Many of FORCES' associates, including John Luik, have very close ties and financial relationships with Big Tobacco. Learn more about John Luik and his roll as a tobacco industry ally.
ANR uncovered information about FORCES that provides an association between the organization and the tobacco industry. According to FORCES' application for recognition of exemption under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, dated April 25, 2002, Peter A. Bagatelos is listed as the contact person for FORCES, Inc.
Mr. Bagatelos is an attorney with the law firm Bagatelos and Fadem, which also represents Philip Morris. The PM privilege log describes Mr. Bagatelos as follows:
"Bagaelos, Peter A., Esq. Attorney: Bagatelos & Fadem, Local Counsel for Philip Morris; Formerly with Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Nay, Counsel for Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute." Bagetelos & Fadem is also listed as "Local Counsel for Philip Morris in San Francisco."
For more information about the strategies behind smokers' rights groups, please read The National Smokers' Alliance Exposed. Even though the National Smokers' Alliance is now (sort of) defunct, the background information from this document is still relevant to other smokers' rights groups such as FORCES.