Big Tobacco behind deceptive ballot initiative
Two initiatives: One strong, one weak
Tobacco giant RJ Reynolds is lying to Arizonans – again. This time RJR is bankrolling a deceptive initiative that falsely claims to protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
On Friday, the North Carolina-based cigarette manufacturer contributed $10,000 to a last-minute attempt to place the Arizona Non-Smoker Protection Act on the November ballot. RJR’s plan is to use their deceptively titled initiative to confuse voters and defeat the true public health measure, Smoke-Free Arizona, which will also be on the November ballot.
This isn’t the first time Big Tobacco has used these deceptive tactics to head off smoking bans. In Ohio, right now, RJR is pursuing a similar strategy in the face of a strong statewide smoke-free law likely to appear on this Novembers’ ballot. In California, they called their initiative “Californians for Statewide Smoking Restrictions.” California voters caught on to their attempts to misrepresent the facts and defeated their sleazy measure. In Florida, they chose the misleading name “The Committee for Responsible Solutions,” and gave up only after being publicly criticized for their deception and fraud.
These blatantly deceptive names do not describe what the initiatives would actually do: roll back existing smokefree regulations, allow smoking in workplaces and prevent local governments from passing future protections against secondhand smoke. Big tobacco-funded initiatives pretend to protect people, but in reality they are nothing more than a smokescreen to confuse the voter.
The tobacco industry is playing a dangerous game and putting the health of all Arizonans at risk by attempting to confuse voters about the Smoke-Free Arizona initiative.
The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids strongly oppose RJR’s attempt to mislead Arizonans and sidetrack our effort to make Arizona a healthier place to live.
But we do not underestimate the power of Big Tobacco’s millions to confuse and distract voters. The Smoke-Free Arizona coalition will use our decades of experience promoting positive health policies in Arizona to defeat this measure.
For more information about Smoke-Free Arizona visit www.smokefreearizona.org.