Member of the Michigan Compromise Coalition

Ban the Ban Michigan is a proud member of the Michigan Compromise Coalition (MCC), a growing group comprised of businesses and organizations who feel the smoking ban goes too far and wish to see it amended. If you're a group leader or business owner, join the MCC!



Who we are

Ban the Ban Michigan is a true grassroots organization not financed by any industry. We are thousands of Michigan residents across the state, joining together to fight this unjustified ban. Our group consists of smokers and nonsmokers alike; people across the political spectrum; healthcare professionals, small business owners, and countless more who are united in opposition to Michigan's smoking ban and the dubious methods used to achieve it.



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In the news

Ban the Ban: City Parks
Iron Mountain Daily News March 30, 2015

Talk of outdoor smoking bans in parks in Dickinson and Iron Counties is getting attention - and probably not of the sort proponents anticipated. Ban the Ban Michigan, a grassroots movement advocating for “a fair and reasonable compromise” on Michigan’s state smoking ban, is taking notice.

"People around Iron Mountain have been joining in droves since Thursday,” says Dana Carver of Presque Isle County, speaking on behalf of the organization. “We now have thousands of members statewide.”

Thursday, the Daily News reported the Dickinson/Iron County Health Department distributed surveys to city officials to gauge their interest in forbidding smoking in local parks.

"Perhaps most troubling to me is the absolute lack of scientific data upon which these public policies are being promoted," says Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health. "I have reviewed literally hundreds of articles about the hazards of secondhand smoke but I've never seen any evidence that smoking in a public park is a serious health threat that justifies government intervention."

According to a 2013 report published in Health Affairs titled Banning Smoking In Parks And On Beaches: Science, Policy, And The Politics Of Denormalization, “Three justifications for these restrictions have been invoked: the risk of passive smoke to nonsmokers, the pollution caused by cigarette butts, and the long-term risks to children from seeing smoking in public. Our analysis of the evidence for these claims found it far from definitive and in some cases weak.”

"It's all about wordplay," Carver says, “and I'm very curious about how those surveys were worded. When people are only told 'risk,' they're not thinking risk increases so close to zero that, in realistic terms, they basically are zero. Anyone leaving out this crucial detail or implying smokers in a park pose any actual threat owes them a sincere apology.”

The impetus behind park smoking bans is not to protect children or prevent littering, according to the Health Affairs report, but to ‘denormalize’ smoking. "It amounts to a shame campaign against one specific group,” says Carver. “It’s saying, ‘we're not going to allow you in sight unless you're what we say is ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable.’ Is this the sort of power people really want their local health department to possess?”

"The argument that smoking needs to be banned because it is corrupting of minors or offensive hardly deserves comment," adds Dr. Siegel. "By framing smoking bans in terms of preventing children from having to ever see a smoker, we turn smoking from a health issue into a moral concern."

“I’m a nonsmoker,” says Brian Smeester, a Kingsford City Council member, “but I feel if adults want to smoke, it's their right to. And there are already ordinances against littering.”

Carver agrees. “Litter can be dealt with via ordinances against all forms of it - not targeted laws because 'shame on that group.'”

Carver urges everyone in Dickinson and Iron counties who oppose such measures to find Ban the Ban Michigan on facebook and to contact their city council members before next Tuesday, when the surveys are due.

VICTORY: thanks to the work of a few volunteers "on the ground," the issue of banning smoking in parks there was subesequently dropped.

Poll: Most Want Compromise on Michigan Smoking Ban
Romulus, Michigan (PR MediaRelease) April 4, 2016

86% want a compromise on Michigan’s statewide smoking ban, according to a recent poll conducted by Ban the Ban Michigan.

“We already knew this law was unpopular,” says group spokesperson Sheri Woody, who owns the City Lounge in Romulus. “Now our poll shows the public wants it changed.”

“We feel our poll represents an accurate cross-section,” says Woody. “It was made available to everyone, multiple votes were filtered out, and ultimately nearly 40,000 people were given the chance to participate.” Ban the Ban Michigan has over 5,000 members across the state and advocates for a “common-sense compromise” on the issue.

According to Woody, Michigan’s ban is one of the strictest in existence. It currently prohibits smoking in nearly every restaurant, bar and veteran’s hall in the state and even includes outdoor patios where food and drinks are served. Leading up to the ban’s enactment in 2010, some supporters claimed the law was necessary to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

“Most Michigan residents are smart enough to be skeptical of those claims,” Woody says. “They may have swayed public opinion back then, but anyone can learn how exaggerated the claims were in a few minutes at banthebanmichigan.com/shs.html. People feel they’ve been lied to.”

The public’s frustration also stems from the ban’s devastating impact on small business, according to Woody. “Hundreds have gone out of business, thousands of jobs have been lost, and it’s heartbreaking,” she says. “In a lot of cases we’re talking about small mom-and-pop places passed down through generations.”

Mike Berry, owner of the 360 Lounge and Grille in Dearborn, recently had his food service revoked because his business is also a hookah lounge. “Everybody was happy the way it was before,” says Berry. “Customers and employees all enjoyed the place. No one was forced to be here who didn’t want to be. We’ll very likely be out of business soon because of the smoking ban.” A list of additional businesses affected is available at www.banthebanmichigan.com/was.html

Ban the Ban Michigan has crafted an amendment to the ban which would exempt outdoor patios and indoor areas designated age 21 and up. The group’s proposed amendment can be viewed at www.banthebanmichigan.com/about.html

“Our poll reflects that people, whether they smoke or not, support choice,” says Woody. “Most agree owners should be free to choose whether to allow smoking on outdoor patios and 21-and-up indoor areas.” She urges Michigan residents who want the law changed to find Ban the Ban Michigan on Facebook.

“Let owners decide and customers will also have a choice: they can vote with their feet,” Woody says. “Lawmakers need to take notice that people are hurting, people are upset, and practically everyone agrees it’s time for a compromise here.”

Boyne City Gazette

86% want a compromise on Michigan’s statewide smoking ban, according to a recent poll conducted by Ban the Ban Michigan.

“We already knew this law was unpopular,” says group spokesperson Sheri Woody, who owns the City Lounge in Romulus. “Now our poll shows the public wants it changed.”

“We feel our poll represents an accurate cross-section,” says Woody. “It was made available to everyone, multiple votes were filtered out, and ultimately nearly 40,000 people were given the chance to participate.” Ban the Ban Michigan has over 5,000 members across the state and advocates for a “common-sense compromise” on the issue.

According to Woody, Michigan’s ban is one of the strictest in existence. It currently prohibits smoking in nearly every restaurant, bar and veteran’s hall in the state and even includes outdoor patios where food and drinks are served. Leading up to the ban’s enactment in 2010, some supporters claimed the law was necessary to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

“Most Michigan residents are smart enough to be skeptical of those claims,” Woody says. “They may have swayed public opinion back then, but anyone can learn how exaggerated the claims were in a few minutes at banthebanmichigan.com/shs.html. People feel they’ve been lied to.”

The public’s frustration also stems from the ban’s devastating impact on small business, according to Woody. “Hundreds have gone out of business, thousands of jobs have been lost, and it’s heartbreaking,” she says. “In a lot of cases we’re talking about small mom-and-pop places passed down through generations.”

Mike Berry, owner of the 360 Lounge and Grille in Dearborn, recently had his food service revoked because his business is also a hookah lounge. “Everybody was happy the way it was before,” says Berry. “Customers and employees all enjoyed the place. No one was forced to be here who didn’t want to be. We’ll very likely be out of business soon because of the smoking ban.” A list of additional businesses affected is available at www.banthebanmichigan.com/was.html

Ban the Ban Michigan has crafted an amendment to the ban which would exempt outdoor patios and indoor areas designated age 21 and up. The group’s proposed amendment can be viewed at www.banthebanmichigan.com/about.html

“Our poll reflects that people, whether they smoke or not, support choice,” says Woody. “Most agree owners should be free to choose whether to allow smoking on outdoor patios and 21-and-up indoor areas.” She urges Michigan residents who want the law changed to find Ban the Ban Michigan on Facebook.

“Let owners decide and customers will also have a choice: they can vote with their feet,” Woody says. “Lawmakers need to take notice that people are hurting, people are upset, and practically everyone agrees it’s time for a compromise here.”

Capital News Service

NOTE: our rebuttals appear indented below; they were not part of the original CNS wire. Our original press release can be found above, under the heading "4/4/16 | Press Release."

LANSING—A group of Michigan residents and businesses is pushing to repeal a state law forbidding smoking in restaurants.

Our amendment proposal includes outdoor eating areas and indoor areas (provided they are designated age 21 and up). It isn't a full repeal, and it doesn't pertain only to restaurants.

Nearly 90 percent of Michigan residents in an online poll want to allow business owners to decide if they want to allow smoking, according to the group that is pushing to repeal the 2010 prohibition on smoking in restaurants, bars and veteran halls, including outdoor eating areas.

Ban the Ban Michigan recently polled about 40,000 residents about the issue, said Sheri Woody, a representative of the group.

As stated in our press release, our poll was made available to 40,000 people, with over 1,100 participating. Our poll has a margin of error of 3%, with a 95% confidence level. In other words, we can be 95% confident between 83-89% think the current law goes too far.

Ban the Ban Michigan has more than 5,000 volunteers who oppose the smoking ban, Woody said.

The group has proposed that owners of private businesses be allowed to decide whether to allow smoking in outdoor areas on their property and indoor areas for people ages 21 and up.

“We advocate a compromise every reasonable person can get behind,” said Woody, who owns the City Lounge bar in Romulus. “We’re not saying every business should be forced to allow smoking, only that property owners should be able to choose which legal activities take place in the property they own.”

Many owners of small businesses, including herself, have lost a large part of their customer base because of the ban, she said.

“Michigan has one of the strictest smoking bans in existence,” Woody said.

If a business serves alcohol in other states such as Kentucky and Indiana, it usually allows smoking, she said. Ohio residents travel to Indiana to smoke in restaurants and bars.

Ban the Ban suggests that risks of secondhand smoke are exaggerated by ban advocates to sway public opinion.

“The object of secondhand smoke is to shame smokers into changing their ‘naughty’ behavior,” Woody said. “It’s blatantly obvious to anyone who reads our site that the effects are extremely exaggerated at best. Smokers are not killing their friends and loved ones.”

Health advocates disagree.

It’s a scientific fact that there are many health risks associated with secondhand smoke, said Patricia Volz, vice president of communications of the Midland States of the American Lung Association.

The ALA's stance strikes us as purposefully vague. Smokers are being accused of murdering their friends and loved ones, yet the ALA can't be bothered to go into any specifics?

The ALA is saying quite a bit by what they AREN'T saying. They AREN'T saying what they believe the associated "risks" are, how many of these "many" risks there are, how high the risk increases are (a risk increase of almost zero is still, well, almost zero). Nor do they mention which studies they're basing their opinion on or which studies they're excluding when formulating their opinion.

"Associated with" is meaningless wordplay. For example windshield wipers are "associated with" many car accidents. There's an 'association' only because ban advocates clumsily struggle to make one.

“This is a public health issue,” Volz said. “Not only would this affect smoking and nonsmoking customers but also any workers involved, creating an unsafe work environment.

Another tellingly vague statement. It would 'affect' them how? And by how much? The ALA seems to be implying that all work environments are currently risk-free, but there's no such thing. Forks, candles, cleaning agents, alcohol, and fatty foods all constitute "risk." Why not scrap the idea of bars and restaurants altogether?

“It’s the American Lung Association’s stance that Michigan’s smoking ban laws should stay exactly where they are.”

We, on the other hand, advocate for a reasonable compromise on one of the strictest smoking ban laws in existence.

The Kent County Health Department supports the current laws and regulations regarding smoking in Michigan businesses, said Adam London, the department’s administrative health officer.

“Smoking is a well-known killer, causing an estimated 480,000 premature deaths in the United States annually, and more than 16 million Americans currently suffer a decreased quality of life due to smoking-related illness,” London said.

Their argument here seems to be that unhealthy things shouldn't be allowed in bars and restaurants. The smoking ban certainly sets a troubling precedent!

“Since the inception of Michigan’s Smoke Free Air Law, Michigan’s residents and visitors have been protected from exposure to second hand smoke in bars, restaurants and businesses including hotels and motels,” London said.

"Protected from exposure" is a very meaningless statement which sounds scary but has no substance. Your eyes are "protected from exposure" to billboards when you remain indoors, but that doesn't mean billboards pose a threat to your vision. It sure makes them SOUND dangerous, though. As we stated in our release, ban advocates exaggerate risk in order to sway public opinion. Here you're seeing a perfect example of that.

About 7,000 clients of local health departments were surveyed by the Department of Community Health after the ban was put into effect. Seventy-three percent of them favored the law.

“The Kent County Health Department feels that any relaxation of this regulation would be counterproductive to the health and welfare of the citizens who live, work and play here,” London said.

Maybe it's the KCHD that needs to relax a bit. Between 83% and 89% of Michigan residents want the law changed. The citizens who live, work, and play here do so in a free country run by we the people, NOT by the Health Department. And let's hope it stays that way.

Ban the Ban Michigan does not yet have legislation to repeal the ban that is supported by a lawmaker, but Woody urged people to contact their representatives and explain how they feel about the smoking ban.

However, House Bill 5159 is supported by multiple lawmakers, and our amendment is a simple addition to this bill.

Grand Rapids Business Journal

NOTE: our rebuttals appear indented below; they were not part of the original article. Our original press release can be found above, under the heading "4/4/16 | Press Release."

LANSING—A group of Michigan residents and businesses is pushing to repeal a state law forbidding smoking in restaurants.

Our amendment proposal includes outdoor eating areas and indoor areas (provided they are designated age 21 and up). It isn't a full repeal, and it doesn't pertain only to restaurants.

Nearly 90 percent of Michigan residents in an online poll want to allow business owners to decide if they want to allow smoking, according to the group that is pushing to repeal the 2010 prohibition on smoking in restaurants, bars and veteran halls, including outdoor eating areas.

Ban the Ban Michigan recently polled about 40,000 residents about the issue, said Sheri Woody, a representative of the group.

As stated in our press release, our poll was made available to 40,000 people, with over 1,100 participating. Our poll has a margin of error of 3%, with a 95% confidence level. In other words, we can be 95% confident between 83-89% think the current law goes too far.

Ban the Ban Michigan has more than 5,000 volunteers who oppose the smoking ban, Woody said.

The group has proposed that owners of private businesses be allowed to decide whether to allow smoking in outdoor areas on their property and indoor areas for people ages 21 and up.

“We advocate a compromise every reasonable person can get behind,” said Woody, who owns the City Lounge bar in Romulus. “We’re not saying every business should be forced to allow smoking, only that property owners should be able to choose which legal activities take place in the property they own.”

Many owners of small businesses, including herself, have lost a large part of their customer base because of the ban, she said.

“Michigan has one of the strictest smoking bans in existence,” Woody said.

If a business serves alcohol in other states such as Kentucky and Indiana, it usually allows smoking, she said. Ohio residents travel to Indiana to smoke in restaurants and bars.

Ban the Ban suggests that risks of secondhand smoke are exaggerated by ban advocates to sway public opinion.

“The object of secondhand smoke is to shame smokers into changing their ‘naughty’ behavior,” Woody said. “It’s blatantly obvious to anyone who reads our site that the effects are extremely exaggerated at best. Smokers are not killing their friends and loved ones.”

Health advocates disagree.

It’s a scientific fact that there are many health risks associated with secondhand smoke, said Patricia Volz, vice president of communications of the Midland States of the American Lung Association.

The ALA's stance strikes us as purposefully vague. Smokers are being accused of murdering their friends and loved ones, yet the ALA can't be bothered to go into any specifics?

The ALA is saying quite a bit by what they AREN'T saying. They AREN'T saying what they believe the associated "risks" are, how many of these "many" risks there are, how high the risk increases are (a risk increase of almost zero is still, well, almost zero). Nor do they mention which studies they're basing their opinion on or which studies they're excluding when formulating their opinion.

"Associated with" is meaningless wordplay. For example windshield wipers are "associated with" many car accidents. There's an 'association' only because ban advocates clumsily struggle to make one.

“This is a public health issue,” Volz said. “Not only would this affect smoking and nonsmoking customers but also any workers involved, creating an unsafe work environment.

Another tellingly vague statement. It would 'affect' them how? And by how much? The ALA seems to be implying that all work environments are currently risk-free, but there's no such thing. Forks, candles, cleaning agents, alcohol, and fatty foods all constitute "risk." Why not scrap the idea of bars and restaurants altogether?

“It’s the American Lung Association’s stance that Michigan’s smoking ban laws should stay exactly where they are.”

We, on the other hand, advocate for a reasonable compromise on one of the strictest smoking ban laws in existence.

The Kent County Health Department supports the current laws and regulations regarding smoking in Michigan businesses, said Adam London, the department’s administrative health officer.

“Smoking is a well-known killer, causing an estimated 480,000 premature deaths in the United States annually, and more than 16 million Americans currently suffer a decreased quality of life due to smoking-related illness,” London said.

Their argument here seems to be that unhealthy things shouldn't be allowed in bars and restaurants. The smoking ban certainly sets a troubling precedent!

“Since the inception of Michigan’s Smoke Free Air Law, Michigan’s residents and visitors have been protected from exposure to second hand smoke in bars, restaurants and businesses including hotels and motels,” London said.

"Protected from exposure" is a very meaningless statement which sounds scary but has no substance. Your eyes are "protected from exposure" to billboards when you remain indoors, but that doesn't mean billboards pose a threat to your vision. It sure makes them SOUND dangerous, though. As we stated in our release, ban advocates exaggerate risk in order to sway public opinion. Here you're seeing a perfect example of that.

About 7,000 clients of local health departments were surveyed by the Department of Community Health after the ban was put into effect. Seventy-three percent of them favored the law.

“The Kent County Health Department feels that any relaxation of this regulation would be counterproductive to the health and welfare of the citizens who live, work and play here,” London said.

Maybe it's the KCHD that needs to relax a bit. Between 83% and 89% of Michigan residents want the law changed. The citizens who live, work, and play here do so in a free country run by we the people, NOT by the Health Department. And let's hope it stays that way.

Ban the Ban Michigan does not yet have legislation to repeal the ban that is supported by a lawmaker, but Woody urged people to contact their representatives and explain how they feel about the smoking ban.

However, House Bill 5159 is supported by multiple lawmakers, and our amendment is a simple addition to this bill.

Fox 17 News (Grand Rapids, MI)

Big Rapids Daily News

A growing number of residents and business owners are pushing for changes to the state law banning smoking in bars, restaurants and veteran's halls.

Kent County Health Department Program Supervisor Cassie Kobler says any changes to the state's smoking ban would be short-sighted and put the health of non-smokers at risk.

“I think it’s very contrary to the work we’re doing with prevention, as well as making sure the greater good, the larger population is being protected," Kobler says.

The group "Ban the Ban Michigan" is proposing an amendment to current state law that would allow smoking in outdoor eating areas and indoor areas designated for patrons 21 years and older.

The Frank Beckmann Show



Our positions

Members of the media: These are our official positions. Feel free to use the following statements (excluding external quotes), so long as their meaning isn't altered.

We do not condone or encourage smoking. We feel that every adult has the right to choose to smoke if they wish, however. Smoking is a legal activity, and we feel it should be allowed on privately-owned property, given the consent of the owner of that property.

To anyone who spends time on our website it should become obvious that the risks associated with secondhand smoke were exaggerated by ban advocates to sway public opinion and modify the behavior of legal adults through shame. Smokers are not killing their friends and loved ones.

We advocate for legitimate science - that is, science free of politicization, exaggeration, and dishonesty. This brand of science is a rarity in the anti-smoking industry. Ban the Ban Michigan strives not only to point out the rampant dishonesty and exaggeration taking place in this field, but also to explain why we feel it qualifies as dishonest, and in what ways exaggerations are being made.

View source for this section

"Three justifications for these restrictions have been invoked: the risk of passive smoke to nonsmokers, the pollution caused by cigarette butts, and the long-term risks to children from seeing smoking in public. Our analysis of the evidence for these claims found it far from definitive and in some cases weak. What, then, accounts for the efforts to impose such bans? We conclude that the impetus is the imperative to denormalize smoking... Although invoking limited evidence may prove effective in the short run, it is hazardous for public health policy makers, for whom public trust is essential."

--Ronald Bayer, codirector of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City

Smokers are perhaps the only minority group government agencies officially encourage the general population to fear, scold, lecture, and humiliate. Anti-smoking groups and ban advocates call this process of attempted social control via state-endorsed shaming "denormalization."

"The more you can do to embarass people, the better."

--Dr. Susan Blatt, formerly involved in the Utica COMMIT anti-smoking program, on how to "nudge" smokers into quitting

The ostensible "justification" (or excuse) for smoking bans was once "secondhand smoke," but this is falling out of favor as more people learn how extremely weak the science is behind such claims. Instead, ban advocates are turning to their pre-secondhand smoke "rationale:" Smoking should be banned because smoking is wrong, because smoking is unhealthy, and we don't want 'normal people' to see it, or they'll think it's morally OK. Denormalization is, therefore, a means of social control - an attempt to train society to associate smoking with abnormality. Imagine this sort of policy implemented on any other common unhealthy behavior, and you start to realize how extreme it is.

That many of our members are not smokers is no surprise; the average Michigan resident finds this policy deeply troubling, if not abhorrent; it exists for the sole purpose of turning one portion of society against another in order to "convert" them. It's one thing for an activist to tell you not to eat meat because it's "unhealthy" or "wrong," but it's another thing entirely when lawmakers and health agencies join in by creating unjustified prohibitions and laws which promote intolerance. Learn more about denormalization

A bar, restaurant, etc is not public property. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled in Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner that a place of business does not become "public" just because the public is invited in ("...Nor does property lose its private character merely because the public is generally invited to use it for designated purposes").

Bars, restaurants, pool halls, bowling alleys and the like are privately owned; occupied only by those who choose to enter, including employees. No one is forced to patronize or work on any given piece of privately-owned property, and at no time does that property become a public space. The choice of whether or not to allow smoking, which is a legal activity, to take place on private property should be restored to the owners of such property.



Amend House Bill 5159

House Bill 5159 would allow business owners to choose whether or not to allow smoking in outdoor areas on their property. We propose an addition to this bill to include indoor areas ages 21 and up. HB 5159 should simply be modified by adding the following (in bold) to the bill in just two places:

Page 3, lines 3 through 6:
The owner, operator, manager, or person in control of a public place that is also a commercial property may allow smoking in an area of the commercial property that is less than 50% enclosed or is greater than 50% enclosed, including indoors, and is designated age 21 and up.

Page 3, lines 14 through 16:
A food service establishment may allow smoking in an area of the food service establishment that is less than 50% enclosed or is greater than 50% enclosed, including indoors, and is designated age 21 and up.

Our amendment would exempt regular outdoor patio areas and indoor areas 21 and up. Of course, businesses could stay smoke free if they choose to. This is a very simple and very reasonable compromise solution. Each owner will be able to choose, and every Michigan resident can choose whether or not they want to enter that property.


Contact your Representative in 3 easy steps

STEP 1: A few quick tips

Don't be shy
Many people are intimidated about contacting their state Representatives, but they shouldn't be. After all, Representatives are exactly that--the people whose job it is to represent you. Get in touch with your Rep right away; call them or email them to explain how you feel about Michigan's smoking ban, and let them know what you feel they should do to right this wrong.

Don't be rude
Remember - none of the Reps who introduced the smoking ban are Reps any longer. Don't assume your Representative won't hear you out.

Make it personal
Reps want to hear personal stories from the people in their district. How has the ban affected you - not just on an economic level, but on an emotional level as well. How has it affected your friends, family, and neighbors?

STEP 2: A pre-made letter for you to edit

It's important to use your own words - type below to make changes to the text (or you could just call them & skip to step 3)

STEP 3: Send your letter:

Enter your city and ZIP code below. Click the magnifying glass, then click on your Representative in the House. From there, scroll down to the "capitol office" section of your Rep's page for their contact info. If you'll be contacting them by email, simply copy and paste the contents of your letter above. Remember, it's their job to represent you, and it's also their job to listen to the concerns of their constituents.



About Michigan's smoking ban

"I believe we have one of the strongest laws in the country."

--Emily Palsrok, John Bailey and Associates PR Firm, which "handled" Michigan's smoking ban

Michigan's smoking ban was passed in 2009 and went into effect on May 1, 2010. Formallly known as the "Dr Ron Davis Smokefree Air Law," it's considered to be one of the strictest smoking bans on earth. It's one of the few bans that forbids smoking in outdoor patio areas, for example. And very few entities are exempt: cigar lounges which existed before the ban and non-tribal Detroit casinos. Private clubs are not exempt: local health departments, for example, do not hesitate to shut down veteran's halls for allowing vets to smoke in them.

View the entire law


Ban advocates & conflicts of interest

Additional sources for this section: 1 23

"Current clinical guidelines, as well as government recommendations for smoking cessation, are based on the premise that all smokers should be treated with pharmaceutical agents."

--Michael Siegel, Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health

Smoking bans earn the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars through the sale of "Nicotine Replacement Therapies:" nicotine pills, patches, and gum. The NRT industry, in fact, is projected to earn the pharmaceutical industry $6.2 billion a year. Smoking bans boost pharmaceutical sales in upwards of 30% because smokers, scared their smoking is killing their friends and loved ones (or at least, that others might think so), flock to buy these products en masse - as do health departments. Call the Michigan Tobacco Quit Line or heed the CDC's demand to "QUIT NOW" and you'll be directed to consume these pharmaceutical products - despite clear evidence they're less effective than quitting "cold turkey," and despite a growing concern some may increase the risk of suicide.

In the last two decades, the pharmaceutical industry has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to entities and organizations who lobby for smoking bans. One of the top financial players is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the ostensibly "charitable" arm of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company. The organization has nearly $1 billion in Johnson & Johnson stock, and it can be said that these donations and grants are investments with huge payoffs. For example, RWJF's Nancy Kaufman rated as "a high leverage investment" the foundation's grants to economists "to develop the formulas to account for the cost of smoking to state medical assistance programs, that allowed the attorney's general to sue the (tobacco) industry."

RWJF gave $99 million to fund the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and American Heart Association via "The SmokeLess States Program." As RWJF describes it:

"Primarily, grants were awarded to non-governmental organizations, with the intention that they would educate the public and policy-makers about the tobacco problem. Two features about the program are significant: (1) the Foundation encouraged its grantees to be activists; (2) advocacy was emphasized to bring about policy change. The program relied heavily on three major health voluntary organizations: the American Cancer Society; the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. They provided financial support and, in particular, funds to help lobbying efforts which the Foundation could not support directly."

The irony, of course, is that the anti-smoking industry fights to restrict the freedoms of smokers using millions of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry; an industry whose products, overall - when taken as prescribed - kill one American every five minutes, according to Melody Peterson in Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs. Why do anti-smoking groups hate the tobacco industry while accepting money from the pharmaceutical industry? Perhaps that's just where the best money is.

The RWJF is ostensibly a charitable organization, and therefore they are not allowed to lobby, instead providing money to anti-smoking groups along with instructions about what to use it for.

Example 1: "Supporting Advocacy to Reduce Tobacco Use and Direct Tobacco-Related State Revenue to Health Priorities, was designed to support state and local advocacy efforts and educate policy-makers and other key audiences in up to 15 states about the need for tobacco control and other public health measures."

Example 2, the "Conducting communications and advocacy activities to support tobacco-control policies" grant: "Under this grant, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) will carry out communications and advocacy activities in support of tobacco-control policies... with a focus on passing smoke-free-air laws. Deliverables will include polling and public-opinion research; public-education advertising and direct mail; policy reports and fact sheets; media relations, such as pitching news stories, writing op-eds and using social media; and web content to support advocacy."

These are just two examples of countless grants RWJF has issued to "educate policy-makers" with the aparent goal of bringing about policy change.

View source for this section

CSAM was the main group which pushed for Michigan's smoking ban by forming a coalition of additional entities, many with ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Conflicts of interest:
For years, this organization had little success in banning smoking in Michigan (it is, after all, a very unpopular law-BtB). CSAM's fortunes didn't turn around until their coalition included the following groups:

  • The American Cancer Society, which is largely pharmaceutically-funded
  • Tobacco-Free Michigan, funded via pharmaceutical money
  • The Michigan State Medical Society, which gave hundreds of thousands in "campaign contributions" to Jennifer Granholm, as well as a host of other lawmakers who introduced the bill.
  • The Michigan Health and Hospital Association, which had also given hundreds of thousands in "campaign contributions" to the legislators who introduced the bill.

The group, as its name implies, is a prohibitionist organization; were they to acheive their goal Michigan would be "tobacco-free."

Conflicts of interest:
TFM received a substantial sum from the RWJF under the $1,200,000 RWJF Smokeless States grant. Because of this grant, according to TFM itself, "a major focus of TFM is the provision of assistance and advocacy to promote the adoption of smoke-free environments laws and policies throughout Michigan. TFM is available to work with local groups and provide the following: assistance in conducting community assessments; media advocacy and/or spokesperson training; assistance in developing relationships with the media; assistance in developing public opinion surveys; mobilization of other TFM members; and outreach to local legislative bodies/local officials."

Similarly, the Tobacco Free Kids Campaign was created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Dr. Davis was the namesake of Michigan's smoking ban (the "Dr. Ron Davis Smokefree Air Law"). Davis was once a consultant for Tobacco-Free Michigan, an organization funded by the pharmaceutical industry (see above). Davis was also a member of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights since 1992 and "was a wonderful partner in the effort to bring smokefree air to Michigan."

"When you have an intense craving, it's nice to be able to pop a piece of gum in your mouth, have a couple chews, and relieve the craving."

--Dr. Ron Davis endorsing Nicorette gum

As former head of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, Davis oversaw the 1988 Surgeon General's report, which first labeled smoking as an "addiction" which needed to be "treated." Before that report, smoking had always been considered a habit which was best overcome by willpower (a position recent studies seem to suggest is accurate).

The report was very convenient for the pharmaceutical industry, which had happened to recently develop Nicotine Replacement Therapies.

Davis was a also a member of the RWJF-funded 1999 Conference Advisory Committee for the American Association of Health Plans' conference on tobacco control and a presenter at the 2000 conference. He was even listed as a media contact in RWJF's media handbook, and received $323,254 by RWJF for an "Assessment of Public Opinion on Tobacco Control Policies in Michigan."

In the April 24, 1996 edition of JAMA, Davis wrote an editorial listing RWJF's (pharmaceutical) support of tobacco control as one of the major assets of the anti-tobacco "community."

In addition to the millions of dollars in RWJF/pharmaceutical money pumped into U of M (see below) U of M president Mary Sue Coleman sat on the board of directors at Johnson and Johnson. Since her reign, all non-pharmaceutical nicotine products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes) have been banned at U of M (along with the obligatory message for students and faculty to consume only pharmaceutical nicotine instead).

U of M was also commissioned by the Michigan Department of Community Health for an economic impact report on Michigan's smoking ban. The study was highly flawed (for example, including businesss which never allowed smoking to begin with). The study contradicts every other study we've come across, as well as individual experiences, which all combine to clearly show that smoking bans have a devastating impact on business.

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Mary Sue Coleman was President of U of M leading up to Michigan's smoking ban (and until her retirement in 2013). During her tenure she raised billions of dollars for U of M, much of it through pharmaceutical grants from RWJF (Johnson & Johnson). Coleman currently sits on the board of directors at Johnson & Johnson.

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Prof. and Chair, Dept. of Public Health Policy and Administration, Univ. of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Warner is a reviewer for Tobacco Control, has received enormous RWJF funding, and is listed in the RWJF media guide for his study, "The Employment Implications of Declining Tobacco Product Sales for the Regional Economies of the U.S."

Warner has continually worked on studies which minimize the economic effects of tobacco bans. "The economics of tobacco: myths and realities," for example, was funded by RWJF.

In addition to multiple grants, Warner heads one of RWJF's continuing programs and is an enthusiastic supporter of raising tobacco prices and for widespread use of NRTs.

His RWJF-funded study on the "Cost Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Therapies: Interpretation of the Evidence and Implications for Coverage," appeared in Pharmaco-Economics in 1997 (11(6):538-549). Another RWJF-funded study touting nicotine replacement products by Warner, John Slade (another RWJF grantee) and David Sweanor of the Canadian Nonsmokers' Rights Association appeared in JAMA in 1997 ("The emerging market for long-term nicotine maintenance," 278(13):1087-1092). The article depicted the tobacco industry as the bad guys who were trying to maintain nicotine dependence and the pharmaceutical industry as the good guys who were delivering nicotine therapeutically or who would vie with the tobacco industry for the "long-term nicotine maintenance market."

Warner is one of the 11 members of the board of the American Legacy Foundation, along with RWJF CEO Steven Schroeder, which essentially means RWJF gets two votes on every issue and that RWJF has VERY heavy input in policy decisions.

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Monograph on access to primary care services
University of Michigan Health Administration Press, Ann Arbor, MI - 1974
Awarded: $12,878

Publication of a study on computer use in ambulatory care
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1975
Awarded: $13,370

Supplementary support for program on health manpower development
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1975
Awarded: $21,740

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 1985-1988
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1985
Awarded: $49,293

Evaluation of Community Programs for Affordable Health Care
Phase 2
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1986
Awarded: $415,548

Assessment of computerized intervention in cognitively impaired persons
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1987
Awarded: $148,344

Evaluation of the Health Care for the Uninsured Program
Phase 1
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1988
Awarded: $14,944

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 1989-1991
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1989
Awarded: $119,976

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program - Juan F. Lopez, M.D.
University of Michigan Mental Health Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI - 1989
Awarded: $152,500

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 1992-1996
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1992
Awarded: $219,358

Studying the patterns and dynamics of economic inequality and health
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1994
Awarded: $242,587

Examining the nature, evolution and effects of tobacco policy in the U.S.
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1995
Awarded: $241,658

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1995
Awarded: $999,233

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 1995-1997
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1995
Awarded: $110,491

Research on the impact of state and federal policies on prevention and treatment services for women substance abusers
University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI - 1996
Awarded: $291,058

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1996
Awarded: $339,999

Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar - Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1996
Awarded: $240,000

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 1996-1998
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1996
Awarded: $196,660

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1996
Awarded: $1,369,245

Role of the courts in shaping U.S. health care policy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1996
Awarded: $200,000

Examining the use of medical technology and health policy in the U.S. and England, 1925-95
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $199,415

Studying social inequalities in aging and health
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $245,146

Defining home care risk groups: A strategy for improved effectiveness and efficiency
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $299,709

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program - Charles R. Neal, Jr., M.D.
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $315,506

Research on the effects of current substance abuse policies on infant health
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $297,203

Developmental work for a study of changes in public attitudes toward genetic testing
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $30,664

Evaluation of the Michigan Managed Long-Term Care Initiative
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $287,344

Conference on reducing societal harm from substance abuse
University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $28,350

Research on the fear of weight gain as a barrier to smoking cessation in women
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $239,593

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $640,000

Study of political structures that states use in designing and implementing Medicaid managed care programs
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $97,892

Support for four Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $699,608

Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Practice and Policy for Healthy Youth Behavior
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $7,000,000

Exploring gender issues in U.S. health care in order to develop a women's health policy
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1997
Awarded: $25,490

Research on the policy implications of inequities in health care among low-income African Americans
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $234,883

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $1,199,999

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $510,000

Substance abuse and welfare reform
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $341,087

Allies Against Asthma: A Program to Combine Clinical and Public Health Approaches to Chronic Illness
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $4,318,757

The impact of smoking control policies on future smoking prevalence and health status
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $287,030

Randomized trial to determine the benefits of earlier hospice care for patients with incurable diseases
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1998
Awarded: $450,000

Effects of workplace policies, climate, and stressors on drug and alcohol attitudes and behavior
University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI - 1998
Awarded: $76,194

Study of the impact of price and control policies on smoking initiation and cessation
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $6,809

Research on the relationship between market characteristics and the number and type of Medicare enrollees in HMOs - Health Tracking Joint Solicitation
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $78,454

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $595,078

Comparative evaluation of risk-adjustment methodologies for profiling physician practice efficiency
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $449,327

Genetic technology and health: Knowledge, attitudes, values, and behavior
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $475,435

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $384,996

Consumer values and preferences in managed care
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $240,000

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 1999-2001
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $249,200

The impact of welfare reform on mothers convicted of a drug offense
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 1999
Awarded: $98,972

Planning activities for the Research Initiative on Health Insurance
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $119,152

Evaluation of the Communities in Charge Initiative: Financing and Delivering Health Care to the Uninsured Program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $1,811,994

Prioritizing of consent for preventive services in generalist practice
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $239,995

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $395,000

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program - Charles R. Neal, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. - supplemental support
University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $18,524

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $647,492

Tools and training to improve pediatric asthma management by clinicians
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $2,431,289

Supplement to substance abuse and welfare reform
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2000
Awarded: $25,000

Planning for the evaluation of RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $40,163

Research Initiative on Health Insurance
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $9,087,310

Communications training for Allies Against Asthma coalition grantees
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $41,137

Development and evaluation of an interactive physical activity program for girls
University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $83,594

Comparing trends in breast and cervical cancer screening in the U.S. and Canada
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $49,999

With the help of their friends: Lobbyists and legislators in health policy-making
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $249,753

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $724,000

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $1,800,000

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $699,284

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program - Kenneth R. Cooke, M.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $365,400

Development of a photovoice tool kit to build activity-friendly communities
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $275,000

Consumer values and preferences in managed care -- supplemental support
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $47,045

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars
University of Michigan School of Public Health Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2001
Awarded: $195,522

Planning integrated depression care for Medicare enrollees in primary, disability, and specialty care settings
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $99,722

Evaluation of the tobacco harm reduction movement and its implications for nicotine addiction and public health
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $340,276
"the pharmaceutical industry contemplates seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for medium- to long-term use of nicotine replacement products, possibly converting them to nicotine maintenance products."

Planning for the evaluation of RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $118,652

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $411,000

Market forces or misinformation: Exploring the link between self-insuring employers and underinsurance for children
-- Matthew M. Davis, M.D. University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $299,769

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $749,950

Research to develop an individual and population life-course approach to the determinants of health
University of Michigan School of Public Health Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $274,793

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $5,200,000

Supplemental communications assistance to the Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $111,030

Qualitative evaluation of RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $304,907

Adolescent component of the National Comorbidity Survey
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $366,972

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars
University of Michigan School of Public Health Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2002
Awarded: $4,633,282

Using physician profiling software to evaluate the practice efficiency of physician specialists
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $102,829

Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Practice and Policy for Healthy Youth Behavior
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $2,334,365

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 2003-2005
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $275,043

Analyzing the prevalence and effects of substance abuse among current and former welfare recipients
University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy National Poverty Center, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $289,092

Planning integrated depression care for Medicare enrollees in primary, disability, and specialty care settings
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $549,863

Planning for the evaluation of RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $60,619

Allies Against Asthma: Field-building joint coalition meeting
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $73,816

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $580,000

Planning for the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program - 2005
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $199,925

Collaborative palliative care
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $299,209

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $650,000

Research on managed care and Medicare expenditures
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2003
Awarded: $99,999

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2004
Awarded: $415,000

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2004
Awarded: $648,735

Assessing racial and ethnic disparities in access to mental health care
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2004
Awarded: $274,999

Conference on the impacts of nonhealth policy on population health
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2004
Awarded: $50,000

Dissemination of Allies Against Asthma activities in a supplemental theme issue of Health Promotion and Practice
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $45,235

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 2005-2007
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $355,057

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $1,015,000

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $555,000

Technical assistance and direction for RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $449,949

Determining the accessibility of urban multiuse trails and physical activity behavior
University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $24,942

Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Practice and Policy for Healthy Youth Behavior
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $2,032,895

Research Initiative on Health Insurance
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2005
Awarded: $334,960

Measuring the value of public health systems
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $124,999

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $863,119

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program - Andrew Campbell, M.D.
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $375,456

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows - Carmen R. Green, M.D.
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $155,000

Enhancing adherence to an Internet-mediated walking program by building e-communities - Caroline R. Richardson, M.D.
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $300,000

Studying access and consumption of addiction treatment service in primary care and specialty care settings
University of Michigan College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, Dearborn, MI - 2006
Awarded: $57,266

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars
University of Michigan School of Public Health Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $5,476,781

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $51,500

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $6,627,525

Studying how for-profit hospitals impact the provision of nonprofit care
University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $104,442

Speaking Together: National Language Services Network
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $61,652

Lead States in Public Health Quality Improvement
Michigan Public Health Institute
MPHI, Okemos, MI - 2006
Awarded: $149,308

Expanded surveillance of middle and high school food policies and environments
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2006
Awarded: $616,525

Conference for African-American public health students focusing on disparities
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $49,330

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $1,024,998

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $84,375

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $507,500

Understanding disparities in breast cancer reconstruction - Amy K. Alderman, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $300,000

Evaluating RWJF's Allies Against Asthma program
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $179,912

Collecting, archiving and publicly sharing data for RWJF's Health and Medical Care Archive, 2007-2012
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $997,940

Reviewing state public health communicable disease laws regarding isolation and quarantine
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $371,376

Understanding the resource allocation decisions of public health officials in the United States
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI - 2007
Awarded: $208,902

New Connections Second Annual Symposium
University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $375,596

Evaluating a treatment-based policy to reduce the incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $99,982

Studying the history of non-pharmaceutical interventions and community experiences to inform public health preparedness policy in the 21st century
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $335,000

Emotional adaptation and the goals of health care policy
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $334,995

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $1,065,740

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $268,245

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $1,015,000

Evaluating the relationship between microsystems aimed at understanding nursing care processes and patient safety - AkkeNeel Talsma, Ph.D., R.N.
University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $350,000

Evaluating the impact of SCHIP expansions on household spending and consumption using consumer expenditure survey data
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $124,694

Disseminating and replicating a language services program to other members of a health system
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $99,611

Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Practice and Policy for Healthy Youth Behavior
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $7,676,077

Examining strategies to generate new revenues on more efficient and effective practices to improve public health
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2008
Awarded: $308,968

Assisting RWJF in developing its program to prevent intimate partner violence in immigrant and refugee communities
University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $29,170

Using the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers to measure health care consumer confidence
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $307,004

Using evidence from the SCHIP expansion to assess the effect of public insurance coverage and provider reimbursement on access to dental care
University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $260,688

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $197,579

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing
University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $130,000

Developing depression-awareness materials for Black men
University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $122,178

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $56,000

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $1,085,886

Mixed qualitative and quantitative investigation into the barriers facing junior physician faculty researchers - Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Awarded: $300,000

The ACS is heavily financed by the pharmaceutical industry, and continues to urge smokers to use Nicotine Replacement Therapies, despite clear evidence going "cold turkey" is a more effective way to quit smoking. The ACS also pushes quit smoking pills, which some are reporting lead people to commit suicide.

The American Cancer Society initiated one of the largest studies ever conducted on secondhand smoke in 1959 with a one-million dollar startup fund. The study was additionally supported by the anti-smoking Tobacco Related Disease Research Program.

Researchers James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat surveyed 118,094 Californians between 1960 and 1998 in an effort to determine if secondhand smoke exposure was a factor in nonsmokers' contraction of lung cancer and heart disease. Anti-smokers themselves, the pair actually wanted to prove beyond doubt that secondhand smoke was deadly.

By 1999, the pair had collected decades of solid data, but there was a problem: it was becoming apparent that exposure to secondhand smoke, no matter how intense or prolonged, did not significantly elevate risk of lung cancer, heart disease, or COPD in those exposed.

At this point, things took a turn. Enstrom and Kabat were strongly urged to suppress their data, and funding for the project abruptly dried up. Not wanting to end the study prematurely, the pair had no choice but to reluctantly allow funding for the tail end of the study to be provided by the Center for Indoor Air Research--a group supported by the tobacco industry.

Regardless, the British Medical Journal found the methodology of the entire study sound upon its completion, and allowed it to be published in 2003. According to Richard Smith, the BMJ's editor:

"Not long ago I was something of a hero of the antitobacco movement--because I resigned my professorship at Nottingham University when it accepted money from British American Tobacco...now I'm a pariah for publishing a piece of research 'funded by the tobacco industry.'"

Though staunch anti-smokers themselves, Enstrom and Kabat were also principled, and refused to back down when it became apparent that secondhand smoke did not mortally wound nonsmokers. Because of this, the pair was subjected to a barrage of personal attacks and unfounded insinuations of dishonesty from the anti-smoking movement. They'd started out wanting to prove secondhand smoke was deadly, but the results of their study just didn't show a link. And so they became "the enemy."

Despite being one of the most (if not THE most) extensive study on the subject to date (in both length and number of participants), the study was automatically dismissed by anti-smokers because it was "funded by big tobacco." Even though decades of data had shown no significant risk increase before the authors were forced to switch funding sources. Had it not received this additional funding, it would never have been completed, or published.

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According to James Bennett, a recognized authority on charitable organizations, in 1988 the ACS held a fund balance of over $400 million with about $69 million of holdings in land, building, and equipment. However, the ACS spent only $90 million, 26 percent of its budget, on medical research and programs. The rest covered "operating expenses," including about 60 percent for generous salaries, pensions, executive benefits, and overhead. By 1989, the cash reserves of the ACS were more than $700 million.

In 1991, believing it was contributing to fighting cancer, the public gave nearly $350 million to the ACS. Most of this money came from donations averaging $3,500, besides high profile fund-raising campaigns, such as the springtime daffodil sale and the May relay races. However, over subsequent decades, an increasing proportion of the ACS budget has come from large corporations, including the pharmaceutical, cancer drug, telecommunications, and entertainment industries.

In 1992, the American Cancer Society Foundation was created to allow the ACS to solicit contributions of more than $100,000. A close look at the heavy-hitters on the Foundation's board made it clear what conflicts of interests were at play, and from where the Foundation expected its big contributions. The Foundation's board of trustees included corporate executives from the pharmaceutical, investment, banking, and media industries. These included David R. Bethune, president of Lederle Laboratories, a multinational pharmaceutical company and a division of American Cyanamid Company. Bethune was also vice president of American Cyanamid, which made chemical fertilizers and herbicides while transforming itself into a full-fledged pharmaceutical company.

A 1992 article in the Wall Street Journal, by Thomas DiLorenzo, professor of economics at Loyola College and veteran investigator of nonprofit organizations, revealed that the Texas affiliate of the ACS owned more than $11 million of assets in land and real estate, more than 56 vehicles, including 11 Ford Crown Victorias for senior executives, and 45 other cars assigned to staff members. ACS chapters in Arizona, California, and Missouri spent only 10 percent of their funds on direct community services. Thus for every $1 spent on direct services, approximately $6.40 was spent on compensation and overhead. In all ten states, salaries and fringe benefits were by far the largest single budget items, a surprising fact in light of the characterization of the appeals, which stressed an urgent and critical need for donations to provide cancer services.

In 1993, The Chronicle of Philanthropy published a statement that the ACS was "more interested in accumulating wealth than in saving lives." Fund-raising appeals routinely stated that the ACS needed more funds to support its cancer programs, all the while holding more than $750 million in cash and real estate assets.

Nationally, only 16 percent or less of all money raised was spent on direct services to cancer victims, like driving cancer patients from the hospital after chemotherapy and providing pain medication.

Most of the funds raised by the ACS have gone and still go to pay overhead, salaries, fringe benefits, and travel expenses of its national executives in Atlanta. They also go to pay chief executive officers, who earn six-figure salaries in several states, and the hundreds of other employees who work out of some 3,000 regional offices nationwide. The typical ACS affiliate, which helps raise the money for the national office, spent more than 52 percent of its budget on salaries, pensions, fringe benefits and overhead for its own employees. Salaries and overhead of most ACS affiliates also exceeded 50 percent, although most direct community services were handled by unpaid volunteers. DiLorenzo summed up his 1992 findings by emphasizing the ACS hoarding of funds.

As of 1998, the ACS budget was $380 million, with cash reserves approaching $1 billion. Yet its aggressive fund-raising campaign continued, and still continues, to plead poverty and lament the lack of available money for cancer research. The ACS also remained silent about its intricate relationships with the wealthy cancer drug, chemical, and other industries.

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"That ACSH [American Council on Science and Health] gets funding from the pharmaceutical industry, as does the AMA, the American Cancer Society, and many other groups in tobacco control, is not disputed."

--Thomas Houston, American Medical Association

The American Cancer Society gets the majority of its money not from individual donors, but from large, multi-billion dollar industries, such as:

  • Pharmaceuticals: AstraZenceca; Bristol Myers Squibb; GlaxoSmithKline; Merck & Company; and Novartis
  • Petrochemical companies (DuPont; BP; and Pennzoil)
  • Industrial waste companies (BFI Waste Systems)
  • Junk food companies (Wendy's International; McDonalds's; Unilever/Best Foods; and Coca-Cola)
  • Biotech companies (Amgen; and Genentech)
  • Cosmetic companies (Christian Dior; Avon; Revlon; Elizabeth Arden; and Estee Lauder)
  • Auto companies (Nissan; General Motors)

GlaxoSmithKline & the ACS even formed a direct partnership together to "educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use." Among the collaborative efforts undertaken by GSK and the American Cancer Society is the Great American Smokeout, which has been shown to boost NRT sales in upwards of 30%. GSK even paid the ACS $1 million a year for use of their logo in its ads for Nicoderm CQ. (source).

From 1997-2001 alone, the ACS received over $1,000,000 from the RWJF to mobilize statewide coalitions, create "public awareness campaigns," for "tobacco policy development," strengthen community coalitions for tobacco control advocacy through expanded member recruitment and matching funds, fostering public awareness through media and public awareness campaigns; to "help develop public policy" regarding the tobacco excise tax; to "strengthen indoor air policies," and to "enforce youth access laws."

The Center for Tobacco Cessation is a collaborative effort between the ACS and the RWJF. Among their primary goals, according to their press release, is to "increase demand for and delivery of effective tobacco cessation treatments... The CTC will assist health and health care partner organizations to promote greater access to effective treatment and availability of insurance coverage for treatment..."

Ironically, the ACS fights to restrict the freedoms of smokers using money from the pharmaceutical industry. Overall, the pharmaceutical industry's products - when taken as prescribed - kill one American every five minutes, according to Melody Peterson in Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs.

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According to economists James Bennett and Thomas DiLorenzo, the ACS uses taxpayer money to lobby for laws and ballot initiatives, especially those which would limit the freedom of smokers. In their book CancerScam, Bennett and DiLorenzo chronicle the growing involvement of anti-smoking health charities in the political process. It's likely that very few taxpayers are aware they are funding ACS lobbying efforts.

A March 30, 1998, Associated Press Release shed unexpected light on questionable ACS expenditures on lobbying. National vice president for federal and state governmental relations Linda Hay Crawford admitted that over the last year, the Society used ten of its own senior employees on direct lobbying. For legal and other help, it hired the lobbying firm of Hogan & Hartson, whose roster included former House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-IL). The lobbying also included $30,000 donations to Democratic and Republican governors' associations. "We wanted to look like players and be players," explained Crawford. This practice, however, had been sharply challenged. An Associated Press release quoted the national Charities Information Bureau as then stating, it "does not know of any other charity that makes contributions to political parties."

Not surprisingly, tax experts warned that these contributions could be illegal, as charities are not allowed to make political donations. Marcus Owens, director of the IRS Exempt Organization Division, also warned that, "The bottom line is campaign contributions will jeopardize a charity's tax exempt status." This warning still remains unheeded.

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"The ACS bears a major responsibility for losing the winnable war against cancer."

--The Cancer Prevention Coalition

The Cancer Prevention Coalition has called the ACS the "world's wealthiest 'nonprofit' institution." Charity Navigator ranked the American Cancer Society in last place in its category of cancer charities. Their ranking breaks down ACS expenses, revealing that now-retired CEO Donald Thomas was earning an annual salary well over $1.4 million, while former "National Vice President of Divisional Services" William Barram was making well over $1.55 million.

An employee in the New York branch of the ACS was indicted for a $4 million tax fraud scheme which allowed individuals to fraudulently claim contributions, much of which had actually been returned to them. Dan Wiant, an administrative officer of the ACS in Ohio, pled guilty to embezzling $7 million from the organization.

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In 2002, The ACS announced its active participation in the "Look Good...Feel Better Program," launched in 1989 by the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, to "help women cancer patients restore their appearance and self-image following chemotherapy and radiation treatment." This program was partnered by a wide range of leading cosmetics industries, which recklessly, if not criminally, failed to disclose information on the carcinogenic, and other toxic ingredients in their products donated to unsuspecting women.

The ACS also reassured the nation that carcinogenicity exposures from dietary pesticides, "toxic waste in dump sites, "ionizing radiation from "closely controlled" nuclear power plants, and non-ionizing radiation, are all "at such low levels that cancer risks are negligible." [BtB note - they would NEVER admit this about secondhand smoke - at least, not on purpose]. ACS indifference to cancer prevention became further embedded in national cancer policy, following the appointment of Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, ACS Past President-Elect, as NCI Director.

View source for this section

The ACS refused to testify at Congressional hearings requiring FDA to ban the intramuscular injection of diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogenic hormone, to fatten cattle, prior to their entry into feedlots prior to slaughter, despite unequivocal evidence of its carcinogenicity, and the cancer risks of eating hormonal meat. Not surprisingly, U.S. meat is outlawed by most nations worldwide.

Tony Mazzocchi, a senior international union labor representative, has protested that "Occupational safety standards have received no support from the ACS." This has resulted in the increasing incidence of a wide range of avoidable cancers.

The ACS trivialized risks of breast, colon and prostate cancers from consumption of rBGH genetically modified milk.

The ACS published a highly flawed study designed to trivialize cancer risks from the use of dark hair dyes.

In 1998, the ACS allocated under 1 percent of its then $680 million budget to claimed research on environmental cancer.

The ACS has opposed regulating black or dark brown hair dyes, based on paraphenylenediamine, in spite of clear evidence of its risks of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, besides other cancers.

The ACS created the industry-funded October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which in 1984 falsely assured women that "early (mammography) detection results in a cure nearly 100 percent of the time." An ACS communications director, questioned by journalist Kate Dempsey on this matter, responded in an article published by the Massachusetts Women's Community Cancer Project:

"The ad isn't based on a study. When you make an advertisement, you just say what you can to get women in the door. You exaggerate a point. Mammography today is a lucrative (and) highly competitive business."

--The American Cancer Society (source)

Anticipating the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) Frontline special "In Our Children's Food" in 1993, the ACS trivialized pesticides as a cause of childhood cancer and charged PBS with "junk science." The ACS went further by questioning, "Can we afford the PBS?"

The ACS has been censured by congressman Paul Rodgers for its failure to support the Clean Air Act in order to protect interests of the automobile industry.

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Though the "Surgeon General" is just one person, their proclamations are generally based on the recommendations of an advisory panel. Thus "what the Surgeon General says" is in actuality more likely to be what the Surgeon General's advisory panel suggests. Many today question the necessity of the Surgeon General's office for various reasons, but it should be noted that the SG is largely responsible for many smoking bans throughout the U.S. It's imperative, then, to take a closer look at the office.

The Office of the Surgeon General released its report on secondhand smoke in 2006. The conclusion of the report, that "there is no safe level" of secondhand smoke, makes absolutely no toxicological sense. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, President of The American Council on Science and Health. called the very notion "alarming:"

"What is most alarming here is that the top doctor in the land is communicating a message that anything that is harmful at a high dose can be lethal at a low dose - when that is simply not true."

Perhaps the statement makes some kind of financial sense, however; in July 2014 it was finally revealed that three of the members of the Surgeon General's panel - Jonathan Samet, Neal Benowitz, and Jack Henningfield - allegedly had been receiving money from pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer, the makers of "Nicotine Replacement Thearapies," at the time the report was created.

The smoking bans which continue to result from this report earn the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars and are projected to earn them $6.2 billion a year as smokers and state health departments flock to buy these products en masse. (Call the Michigan Tobacco Quit Line, and you'll be directed to consume these pharmaceutical products, despite their being less effective than quitting "cold turkey."

"The debate is over...There's no safe level of secondhand smoke. Period."

--Jonathan Samet, scientific editor of the Surgeon General's Report, who at the time had strong financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry

The man responsible for those now-infamous words received grant support for research and writing from GlaxoSmithKline on at least six occasions, including in 2010. In addition, he formerly led the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, which is funded by GSK and Pfizer. Moreover, until 2009, Dr. Samet received regular honoraria from Pfizer for his service on the Pfizer Global Tobacco Advisory Board.

In 2000, the Office of the Surgeon General released its report on "Reducing Tobacco Use," which emphasized smoking cessation therapy. Thus a supposedly unbiased government agency with clear pharmaceutical ties went on record claiming smokers are killing their friends and loved ones and need pharmaceutical products to help them quit.

Much to the pharmaceutical industry's benefit, countless smoking bans are the result - yet there is no scientific consensus that secondhand smoke is the danger they claimed.

"Only a few scientists believe that secondhand smoke poses a risk of death."

--epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat

In fact, there are a far greater number of studies which show no correlation between secondhand smoke and serious health risks - meaning that in order to reach their conclusion about secondhand smoke, the Office of the Surgeon General had to ignore the true results of the majority of studies, cherry-picking only those which had the "right" results.

Samet was also the scientific editor of the 1992 EPA report (see below), which was the first report that called secondhand smoke carcinogenic (resulting in many workplace smoking bans), and was chairman of the working group of the World Health Organization's (see below) IARC, which labelled secondhand smoke carcinogenic in its "Monograph 83." This report provides the scientific basis for WHO's anti-tobacco treaty Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

From a pharmaceutical standpoint, you might say Samet was extremely well-placed.

Yet another tax-funded entity, The Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health, exists for the sole purpose of coordinating governmental anti-tobacco efforts with those of non-governmental organizations such as the American Cancer Society. Headed by the Surgeon General, the Interagency Committee is composed of individuals from the public and the private sector.

Representatives from organizations with a financial stake in the tobacco war sit on the committee and help direct governmental anti-tobacco policy and programs. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation VP Nancy Kaufman has been a member of the committee since 1995, and the RWJF is the biggest single shareholder in Johnson & Johnson, marketers of smoking cessation drugs.

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The 1992 EPA report on secondhand smoke resulted in many workplace smoking bans, and though it has since been condemned as junk science by many in the academic, medical, and scientific communities (including some scientists in the EPA) many of those bans remain. As outlined above, Jonathan Samet served as the scientific editor of this report, and James Repace was a contributor.

In 1998, US District Court Judge William Osteen invalidated the EPA's conclusion that SHS is a cancer-causing agent, stating:

"EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before research had begun, excluded industry by violating procedural requirements; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate the Agency's public conclusion, and aggressively utilized authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme... to influence public opinion."

"...in conducting the ETS (secondhand smoke) Risk Assessment, EPA disregarded information and made findings on selective information, did not disseminate significant epidemiologic information; deviated from its Risk Assessment Guidelines; failed to disclose important findings and reasoning; and left significant questions without answers. EPA's conduct left substantial holes in the administrative record. While so doing, EPA produced limited evidence, then claimed the weight of the Agency's research evidence demonstrated ETS causes cancer."

In other words, the EPA had pre-determined that SHS kills 3,000 people a year - before doing the research. Once they actually did that research, there was no statistical evidence to back up their assumption. They then ignored their own guidelines for conducting such a study, "shredded" two-thirds of their original data, doubled the margin of error of their new result, then arbitrarily doubled that number to come up with an imaginary death toll--which had been their goal from the beginning.

"...the science fell off the campaign wagon two weeks ago when the definitive study on passive smoking...reported no cancer risk at all. Don't bet that will change the crusaders' mind. The anti-smoking movement, after all, has slipped from a health crusade to a moral one. It is now obvious that antismoking activists have knowingly overstated the risks of secondhand smoke."

--the Wall Street Journal

In 2002, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Osteen's ruling--but only because it determined that Osteen's court had no jurisdiction over the matter, as the EPA's conclusion was non-regulatory. In other words, the EPA's study was never intended to become the basis of any law.

The anti-smoking movement (who had awaited the EPA report with great anticipation) has misconstrued this technicality to mean the court somehow validated the EPA's report. This is not the case at all; the appeals court did not question the Federal Court's judgments on the EPA's flawed methodology and questionable conclusions, and scientists (including some in the EPA) have since denounced the study as junk science. In fact, Osteen's condemnation of the study has never been challenged.

Additionally, the House Committee on Agriculture (July 1993), the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (July 1993), and the Congressional Research Service (November 1995) each determined that the procedures taken by the EPA in producing their report were scientifically questionable and perhaps politically motivated.

Worthless as it may be, anti-smoking groups and organizations continue to reference the EPA report as if it has great meaning. The National Cancer Institute, for example, cites it as a reference to justify their stance that secondhand smoke is dangerous. Based on this report, the American Medical Association called for bans on workplace smoking. Look close enough at today's anti-smoking literature, and you will likely find this invalidated EPA report referenced.

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In the wake of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, many have questioned the role of the CDC. What had started as an organization with a noble goal - to protect American citizens from the outbreak of infectious diseases - had become a bloated beauracracy dedicated to, or distracted by, the erradication of smoking via pharmaceutical products.

The CDC, in the form of The CDC Foundation (or Foundation for the CDC) has received direct contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. The Foundation was established in the U.S. code in 1992 for the purpose of carrying out "activities for the prevention and control of diseases, disorders, injuries, and disabilities, and for promotion of public health" (Title 42, Sec.280d-11).

The Foundation, which is ostensibly a "private nonprofit corporation," is supported by private donations. The money may be used for programs of fellowships for state and local public health officials to work and study at the CDC, for international fellowships for public health officials from other countries to study at the CDC, and for employees of the CDC to serve in public health capacities in other countries. The fund may also be used for forums for government officials and private entities to exchange information, for meetings, conferences, courses, and training workshops, and for "studies, projects, and research," including research on the effectiveness of prevention activities.

One of the current projects of the Foundation is the National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted by the American Legacy Foundation. A list of corporate donors includes Glaxo Wellcome, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ortho-McNeil, SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare and SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals and other pharmaceutical giants. In fact, nearly half the corporate donors listed are pharmaceutical companies. Thus it can be seen that the pharmaceutical industry has tremendous influence on and financial connections to many of the major bureaus of the Public Health Service, influence and connections it has used to great effect in gaining the upper hand in the "nicotine war."

Beginning in 1996, the CDC listed the RWJF as a "partner" in tobacco control. The federal agency even included two cessation drug marketing reports in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report series and encouraged states to spend millions in tobacco settlement money on smoking cessation and treatment.

"Data from this report suggest that increasing the number of treatment options and the availability of pharmacologic [NRT] products increases use of these treatments."

--CDC MMWR report, July 28, 2000, "Use of FDA-Approved Pharmacologic Treatments for Tobacco Dependence- United States, 1984-1998."

The report was written jointly by the CDC's Epidemiology Br, Office on Smoking and Health, SL Burton of SmithKline Beecham, JG Gitchell and S. Shiffman of Pinney Associates, a firm hired as a consultant and Zyban ad campaign manager for Glaxo Wellcome. The CDC's 1996 "Tobacco Use Prevention Program: At-A-Glance" listed among its "Key Partners" The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the RWJF-funded National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The addiction business, pharmacologic and behavioral, got another taxpayer-funded shot in the arm from the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. The 2000 Surgeon General's report, "Reducing Tobacco Use," re-emphasized the importance of "treatment" for tobacco "addiction." Among its primary recommendations: "Changing physician behavior, medical system procedures, and insurance coverage to encourage widespread use of state-of-the-art treatment of nicotine addiction." Thus the CDC's Surgeon General reports, intentionally or unintentionally, had the effect of promoting the sales of the pharmaceuticals' products while demonizing the tobacco industry's nicotine products.

View source for this section

If you've read our section on secondhand smoke, you already know that before any studies had been conducted on SHS, a WHO converence recommended that the goal of anti-smoking activists and health organizations should be to lead the public to believe it poses a risk to nonsmokers.

The WHO conducted an actual study on the matter 23 years later.

Perhaps confident they could "prove it," their study was actually a textbook example of the right way to conduct an epidemiologic study. It was a case control study using a large sample size and was conducted from twelve centers in seven European countries over a period of seven years.

The WHO must have been horrified by their results: that no statistically significant risks exist for nonsmokers who live or work with smokers. In fact, the study's only statistically significant result was that secondhand smoke has a protective effect on children!

To reiterate, the study was large, its methodology was sound, and it was conducted by an organization full of anti-smokers who had every motivation to "prove" that secondhand smoke was dangerous.

The results were the opposite of what they must have been hoping for, and they certainly wouldn't help them "to foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them."

Did the WHO issue a press release to inform the world that secondhand smoke wasn't dangerous after all? Of course not. Insteady they tried to bury the study, hoping no one would find out about it. Eventually, it was discovered by the press:

"...the science fell off the campaign wagon two weeks ago when the definitive study on passive smoking...reported no cancer risk at all. Don't bet that will change the crusaders' mind. The anti-smoking movement, after all, has slipped from a health crusade to a moral one. It is now obvious that antismoking activists have knowingly overstated the risks of secondhand smoke."

--the Wall Street Journal

"The world's leading health organization has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could have even a protective effect."

--The Telegraph

In response to their study being revealed, the WHO quickly went into damage-control mode, issuing a press release titled "Passive Smoking Does Cause Lung Cancer - Do Not Let Them Fool You." One might call the press release dishonest, considering it declared the exact opposite of what their study showed--not to mention the conspiratorial overtones (do not let THEM fool you!). The WHO also neglected to mention their study's one statistically significant result--that SHS has a protective effect on children--which you'd think an organization whose goal was to protect health would want everyone to know.

Tellingly, this WHO study is still to this day being offered to legislators as "proof" by anti-smokers, who know that most politicians are unfamiliar with the true meaning of its results!

For the WHO, the "problem" of being unable to link SHS to lung cancer had to be corrected, so they simply started over again by conducting another study. But the next study's methodology was wildly different from their first: it was a meta-analysis, which are generally considered to be dubious because they allow those performing the study to cherry-pick data to achieve whatever results are desired.



Michigan lawmakers & special interests

Sources for this section: 1 2 3 4 5

Nearly every legislator who sponsored Michigan's smoking ban (as well as Jennifer Granholm, who signed it into law) received money in the form of "campaign contributions" either from the pharmaceutical industry and/or organizations within the coalition pushing for the ban.

Jennifer Granholm

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Richard Ball

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Vicki Barnett

Contributions from:
Research ongoing...
Joan Bauer

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Timothy Bledsoe

Contributions from:
Research ongoing...
Lisa Brown

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Terry Brown

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Pam Byrnes

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Barb Byrum

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Brian Calley

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Bob Constan

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Mark Corriveau

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Hugh Crawford

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Robert Dean

Contributions from:
Research ongoing...
Larry DeShazor

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Lee Gonzales

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Kevin Green

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Vincent Gregory

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Martin Griffin

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Gail Haines

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Richard Hammel

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Robert Jones

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Deb Kennedy

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Marty Knollenberg
In office (Senate)

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Richard LeBlanc

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Gabe Leland

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
LaMar Lemmons

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Steven Lindberg

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Ellen Lipton

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Leia Liss

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Matt Lori

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Jim Marleau
In office (Senate)

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Gary McDowell

Contributions from:
Johnson & Johnson
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Mark Meadows

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Tim Melton

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Fred Miller

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Chuck Moss

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
John Pross
In office (Senate)

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Sarah Roberts

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Tonya Schuitmaker
In office (Senate)

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Paul Scott

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Dan Scripps

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Kate Segal

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Joel Sheltrown

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Dian Slavens

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Jim Slezak

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Alma Smith

Contributions from:
Research ongoing...
Woodrow Stanley

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Rashida Tlaib

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Mary Valentine

Contributions from:
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Rebeka Warren
In office (Senate)

Contributions from:
Pfizer
Michigan State Medical Society
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Jimmy Womack

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Coleman Young

Contributions from:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association



Copyright 2016 Ban the Ban Michigan (BtBmi). All rights reserved. BtBmi does not endorse or encourage any action which violates any law or ordinance. The contents of this website are not original sources but where possible, references to original sources are cited.