Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a libertarian think tank addressing environmental, health and educational issues. It is also an active partner of the tobacco industry. Another libertarian think tank that is a prominent tobacco industry ally is the Cato Institute.

In December 2006, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets announced a multi-year partnership project with Heartland Institute to influence public opinion on tobacco issues. "The project is expected to be a multi-year effort beginning in 2007, and will include press releases, letters to editors and a campaign to win coverage in magazines and journals," according to National Association of Tobacco Outlets president Tom Briant in a press release.

The Heartland Institute's involvement with the tobacco industry goes back more than a decade. On their website, Institute President Joseph L. Bast states that they are a "genuinely independent source of research." This institute appears to be a far cry from independent -- internal documents expose Philip Morris contributions to the Heartland Institute totaling over $150,000 in 1997, 1998, and 1999.

Philip Morris and Brown & Williamson Tobacco are also listed as generous sponsors contributing at least $10,000 to the Heartland Institute's 10th Anniversary Benefit held in 1994.

This well-established relationship makes it no surprise to find faulty science and misinformation about smokefree policies on their website. It is always a good idea to know what tobacco industry front groups like the Heartland Institute are up to. Explore their "Smokers Lounge," where they post misinformation about secondhand smoke, letters to the editor, sample talking points, anecdotal stories intended to encourage opposition of smokefree air policy, and links to smokers’ rights groups.