The Politics of Tobacco in the USA

Marlboro Man

Joe Camel

Politics have a great influence in the tobacco industry and vice versa. President Clinton declared war on the tobacco industry on August 22, 1996 when he administered new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration for limiting tobacco advertising, sales and access aimed at minors. The restrictions were designed to stop the industry advertising of tobacco as sexy and fun. This law removed Joe Camel and Marlborough Man and required all billboards to be black and white, text only and to not be placed within 1000 feet of schools (28). But not only is advertising affected by the tobacco industry, also are stocks.
    In the recent presidential election, when the Supreme Court ruled to allow the hand-tallied presidential ballots to be included in the state's election count, which would be positive for Al Gore:
  • Philip Morris Co.'s shares dropped 8.5% and other tobacco stocks followed (37).
  • The Nasdaq composite index fell 116.11 to 2,755.34.
  • The Dow Jones industrial average fell 95.18 to close at 10,399.32 (6).
The lawsuits, however, affect the tobacco industries greatly. Jeff Wigand testified December 11, 2000 that Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. systematically altered and destroyed internal memos that would have confirmed the risks of smoking. This case would aid sick asbestos workers and their families for the corporation hiding and distorting findings that asbestos workers who smoked were five times as likely to get lung disease than the average smoker (16).

The many class-action lawsuits against tobacco companies have given billions to people and states. Many states allocate the money to medical programs or smoking prevention and cessation programs, for example:

    Michigan
  • $18 million of the $279 million will fund state long-term-care programs including a $5 million respite care program.

Some Southern states provided money to tobacco growers and communities whose economies depend on tobacco.

    North Carolina
  • Gave over 50% of its $149.5 million payment in 2000 to support tobacco farmers, displaced workers and tobacco-dependent communities.
  • Only 25% went to a healthcare trust fund (12).
Jeff Wigand
Jeff Wigand
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