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Behind the Scenes
How the companies tried to use "ventilation" solutions to block restrictions on smoking

February 2002

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Newly-released Tobacco Industry Documents Show: 

  • The Big Three developed ‘Ventilation’ solution to block smoking bans. 

  • The Big Three hired ‘consultants’ to mobilize support against smoking bans. 

  • The Big Three worked together to develop cross- Canada strategies to block smoking bans. 

  • The Big Three spent millions fighting proposals to protect Canadians from second-hand smoke. 

For most of the past decade, efforts to introduce clean-air laws and policies have been strongly opposed by a handful of bars and restaurant owners. Their use of similar arguments and similar tactics raised suspicions that these efforts were being coordinated by a central agency. Only recently (February 2002) did evidence come to light that the Canadian tobacco industry and its foreign owners were working secretly to block bans on smoking. 

CTMC gathers top guns to discuss second-hand smoke with Philip Morris.

CTMC hires former Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Bert Liston, to help them.
CTMS: ETS Meeting Attendees PM2065518360
 and Agenda, PM 2065518361

Rob Parker develops a strategy for the CTMC, including testing messages, public opinion polling, focus groups.
RJR-Macdonald Memo Feb 20, 1995, PM 2065518372

CTMC communications strategy stresses 'accommodation' and  HVAC (a precursor of ventilation).

The planned initiatives include:

  • Intensified "no sales to minors" campaign

  • Accommodation Program

  • HVAC Programs (ventilation)
    ETS exposure studies in Canada

  • ETS Scientists Media tour

  • Parents talk to their children about smoking

  • Anti Tobacco Activists Mislead the Public

  • The benefits of sponsorship

  • Tobacco Smuggling and High Taxes

  • Is Tobacco Addictive?

  • The Tobacco File

  • Direct Mail to Smoker

Government Relations "Develop an aggressive calling program by company and CTMC, with allies where possible, to push "accommodation" as a legitimate approach to public sector tobacco policy.
Memo from RRP (Rob Parker) to "OPS" PM 2065518375-80

CTMC is consulted by Phillip Morris about developing an ISO standard for ventilation.
Memo Winokur to McDonald, Feb 21 1995 PM2065518362

CTMC plans to hire students to gather petitions against Vancouver smoke-free by-law at tobacco sponsored events (Benson and Hedges fireworks, Molson Indy).
Monthly Report - July 21, 1995 PM 2065518282

The Fraser Institute is approached to help.

"Staff have explored the possibility of the Fraser Institute's economists' looking at the job loss figures and making a public statement that they are reasonable.  Initial response from the Fraser Institute was that this is the sort of issue that they would be interested in.  Staff believe that the Fraser Institute may be inclined to our point of view due to its pro-business, anti-intervention policy direction.  The Institute has a great deal of credibility in the British Columbia media, in particular on economic matters.
Weekly report, July 28, 1995 PM 2065518303

The CTMC develops a strategy to "derail" Health Canada consultation on second-hand smoke.

"We will try to push the conference off the rails, along the lines of what was done in the municipal consultation meetings."
Weekly report, July 28, 1995 PM 2065518303

Stakeholders, led by Bruce Clark, succeeded in changing the agenda to allow Larry Holcomb to speak to the entire conference.... Stakeholders successfully steered discussions in the "break-out groups" away from ETS specifically, and towards the broader questions of indoor air quality."
Weekly report, September 8, 1995 PM 2065518213

CTMC hires agents to mobilize against by-law change 

The Canadian Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association (CTMC) hires PR consultant Susan Walsh to mobilize Ontario Restaurant Association against proposed Toronto smoking by-laws. 
"You will find a memo from our contact in Toronto summarizing the proceedings at the press conference [of Medical Officers of Health. ... Once we learned of the release this morning, Ms. Walsh was able to get representatives of the Ontario Restaurant Association to attend and make known their views." 
CTMC Memo, April 24, 1996 PM 2065186598 1998 

CTMC introduces "Courtesy of Choice"

"We are now invited to over 1 dozen provincial association meetings and Corporate Board meetings [of Hotel chains] between now and next May."
David Small memo, Sept 4, 1996 PM 2063834016

"Ventilation" is identified as the way to avoid a smoking ban in Toronto.

"In order to create a consensus around a common solution, it is important to move Mayor Barbara Hall towards a ventilation solution and away from the New York City Model."
Memo from Susan Walsh, April 8, 1997 PM 2065520838

CTMC funds the development of a ‘Ventilation Solution’
to fight bans 
Through the ‘Courtesy of Choice’ program, the CTMC funds the development of a strategy to promote ‘ventilation’ as a solution to smoking bans.
You will recall that approval was given CTMC by the member companies for funding to develop a 'ventilation alternative' to public place smoking ban initiatives in Mississauga and Toronto with, hopefully, the prospect of moving this to B.C. as well. 
CTMC Memo, March 29, 1998 PM 2065255097 

The Tobacco Industry acknowledges that a key principle of the ventilation alternative is the prevention of smoking bans. 
Adoption of policy proposal guarantees that alternatives such as a smoking ban or separately enclosed and ventilated rooms will not be required now or in the future.
Proposal for a Credible and Sustainable Indoor Air Policy: The Ventilation Options CTMC, 1998 PM2065255098 

Front Groups are recruited in hospitality and air-systems sectors. 
The CTMC recruits Consumers Gas and the Ontario Restaurant Association to campaign against bans on smoking. 
Consumers Gas … have agreed to publicly support the ORA’s [Ontario Restaurant Association] call for a ventilation response to the issue of public smoking in Toronto and environs … Consumers Gas ...seem to also understand what’s involved in attending meetings with councillors, deputations before city councils, etc.
CTMC memo, March 30, 1998 2065255103 

Secret Meetings are held to plan campaigns to fight smoking bans.
The CTMC brings together its consultants and agents to coordinate opposition to smoke bans in a secret meeting in Toronto on June 22, 1998. 
"There appears to be a consensus regarding the need for coordination of some of the key players opposing smoke bans across North America.. Stakeholder groups from the hospitality industry will not be invited to this meeting. We need to get organized first -- there might be an opportunity/ need to meet with these groups later but it’s probably safer if the information is taken back to the hospitality groups by the people working with them behind the scenes. "
CTMC Memo May 26, 1998 PM 2065254987 

Philip Morris helps arrange the meeting to organize against smoke-bans, and tags on a meeting to discuss developing a ventilation strategy.
 “This meeting will hopefully begin a process of speedy and efficient information sharing by those helping to organize the fight against smoke bans in the hospitality sector. … People attending this meeting should include:
 • Tobacco industry employees involved in the hospitality sector issue 
• Consultants working with the industry to fight smoke bans — particularly any regional consultants who may be an ongoing contact on their area.
 A second meeting will be held the same week of ventilation consultants working on the industry issue either directly or through programs such as Courtesy of Choice.” 

Memo from Susan Walsh, June 3, 1998 PM 2065254984 

The group brought together by the CTMC to fight smoking bans will soon be familiar in local smoke-free by-law campaigns. Participants from the meeting include: 
• Hotel Association of Canada
 • Rothmans Benson and Hedges 
• RJR_MacDonald Inc 
• Imperial Tobacco Ltd. 
• Philip Morris
 • RJ Reynolds 
• Dasko Communications Group 
• John Luik 
• Pierre Lemieux 
• Susan Walsh 
• Marlene Hore 
• Tim Crowhurst 
• Mary Trudelle 
• Clarence Tetrault 
• Mariliyn Pincock 
• John Barr & Mina Leekha
 “Contact List –Evaluating Strategies in Respect to Public Smoking Initiatives” PM 2065254993 

See also:
 Agenda: Evaluating Strategies in Response to Public Smoking Initiatives June 22, 1998 PM 2065254992 Page 2

Money is funnelled through Courtesy of Choice to oppose smoking by-laws. 

CTMC funds the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) to run “courtesy of choice” -mobilizing ground troops in restaurants and bars against smoking bans 
"We introduced Courtesy of Choice at the same time as our local municipality introduced a proposal for a city-wide smoking ban (in all public areas). We found Courtesy of Choice to be an excellent opportunity to offer training to first line employees on how to deal with customers who didn’t know about the smoking ban."
Courtesy of Choice Newsletter, March 98 PM2065255096

CTMC engages Courtesy of Choice to lobby against smoking bans.
 "Courtesy of Choice/Hotel Association of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) are continuing the effective lobbying campaign…. This effort will include pushing for a ventilation solution in the long term instead of a ban.”
 CTMC Memo July 15, 1998 PM 2065254948 

CTMC recruits British Columbia pubs to oppose smoking bans, and provides media training to them.
 “We have this week signed on 4 new properties in the Victoria area...We are offering to provide media training and support for [Sooke River proprietor’s] media interviews." 
CTMC memo, June 2, 1998 PM2065254964 

CTMC mobilizes B.C. hotels against smoking bans through Courtesy of Choice.
 “Nearly 100 hoteliers have responded to a fax-out requesting their views on the impact of a province-wide smoke ban … I will be in Vancouver later this week to begin the process of following through with these requests which reach into every corner of the province.” 

CTMC Memo, July 15, 1998 PM2065254951 2000 

CBC unveils Tobacco industry payments to Courtesy of Choice.
During the assault on B.C. Workers’ Compensation regulation protecting all workers from second-hand smoke, CBC Radio and BC Television reveal that the CTMC has been funding Courtesy of Choice by almost $1 million a year since 1995. 
Rick Cluff (CBC Radio): How big a fund are we talking about here? Laundy (CTMC): … I think it’s in the $800,000 dollar range 
CBC Radio Early Edition, 13 June 2000 (courtesy of Airspace)
follow up on CBC Radio Early Edition, 14 June 2000

These documents were obtained from the web-site of Philip Morris. They were posted there as a result of legal actions against Philip Morris by U.S. governments. 


Last revised: January 06, 2008

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
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