Since the 1970's, tobacco companies have worked persistently to influence the policy positions of key hospitality trade associations for the purpose of using these third parties as front groups to undermine smokefree policies. Even though all legitimate economic studies show that smokefree air has no negative impact on business, tobacco industry strategists were successful in both buying off the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and convincing it that smokefree ordinances are bad for business.
For a complete look at the historical connection between the tobacco industry and the National Restaurant Association, see our fact sheet titled Big Tobacco Serves the "Butt End" to the National Restaurant Association.
Click on the image to view the 2000 letter to the National Restaurant Association from the Philip Morris Options program, a program that promoted ventilation as a solution to smoke-filled workplaces. The letter references a contribution of $250,000, and demonstrates yet another example of how the tobacco industry has tried to "buy off" the National Restaurant Association.
Support for Smokefree Restaurants increases at State Level
Even though the NRA remains opposed to smokefree air, many statewide restaurant associations now support smokefree air laws or have taken a neutral stance. The associations no longer oppose smokefree laws because they recognize that the policies are good for the health of their employees and patrons, and are good for their bottom line.
State Restaurant Association Support for Smokefree Air Laws: