Givel and Stanton Glantz of the Institute for Health Policy Studies,
School of Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco, have
recently published a detailed report on Florida tobacco politics and
policy making entitled: Tobacco Industry Political Power and Influence
in Florida From 1979 to 1999.
The following is the Executive Summary of the report and an Addendum of
what actions the Bush Administration has taken to undermine the program
since the report was first published in May 1999. For questions or
further information on this report during the Orlando meeting,
Michael Givel can be contacted at the Radisson Resort Parkway in
Kissimmee at 1-800-634-4774 or at his office voice mail, which he will be
checking continually, at 1-415-476-0813.
* The tobacco industry is a major political and legal force in Florida through campaign contributions, public relations efforts, lobbying and litigation, which at least from the late 1970s, has had a centralized political organization in Florida that defends and promotes its political and economic interests at the local and state levels of government. Although the industry has operated in the open in some political campaigns, it has also operated quietly behind the scenes, often through front groups, in various other state and local political campaigns.
* In Dade County in 1979, GASP of Miami ran a clean indoor air
initiative without the active support of the local affiliates of the
American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and American Heart
Despite being outspent by the tobacco industry 90 to
1, GASP only lost by 820 votes. Had the health groups provided
public and political support, the initiative may well have won,
substantially increasing the momentum for clean indoor air ordinances in
Florida and elsewhere.
* Prior to 1985, there were numerous ongoing local efforts to pass
and enact a wide variety of local clean indoor ordinances. These
efforts subsided considerably after the passage of the preemption clause
in the weak Florida Clean Indoor Air Act (FCIAA) of 1985 which, at first,
was supported by the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association,
and American Heart Association.
Since the passage of FCIAA, the
tobacco industry has been able to stop all efforts by the three health
groups and sympathetic politicians to repeal the preemption clause.
* After the passage of campaign contribution limit laws in 1991 in
Florida, tobacco industry campaign contributions have been redirected
away from individual candidates and to the two major political parties.
In the 1993-1994 election cycle, the industry gave the largest amount of
contributions with $475,000 given to the parties compared to $95,856 to
The largest contribution to a political party
came from Philip Morris, which gave $382,500 to the Republican Party.
These contributions in conjunction with others has reinvigorated the two
major parties as political power brokers who provide their candidates
with advertising, technical assistance, and paid staff.
* During the 1997-1998 electoral cycle, the tobacco industry's
total campaign contributions were $398,194, with $310,250 given to the
two major political parties in comparison to $84,194 for
The Republican Party received $227,250 compared to the
Democratic Party which received $82,500. The largest contribution
to a political party came from Philip Morris, which contributed
$125,000 to the Republican Party.
* In August 1997, Florida and the industry settled a Medicaid
fraud lawsuit. Under the terms of the settlement, the industry agreed to
pay Florida $11.3 billion, end outdoor billboards, pay for public
anti-tobacco campaigns, remove vending machines from places accessible to
children, end tobacco advertising on buses and trains, complete an
anti-tobacco youth campaign within two years of the settlement, and not
name the industry in anti-tobacco ads.
Due to further negotiations with
the industry, on September 11, 1998, the amount paid to Florida was
increased to $13 billion and restrictions on the two year time limit
regarding the youth antismoking campaign and specifically naming the
industry in anti-tobacco advertisements were lifted.
* After February 1998, Florida began an effort to establish a $200
million youth antismoking campaign called the Tobacco Pilot Program in an
effort to meet the two year deadline. The Tobacco Pilot Program has
engaged in an extensive media campaign known as the 'Truth Campaign'
which began in late April 1998 and included tough inyourface print,
billboard, and media advertisements which ran throughout Florida. The
major theme of this campaign is that Florida youth should choose 'Truth'
rather than use tobacco and be targets of industry advertising
manipulation in the use of tobacco.
* A report released on March 17, 1999 by the Florida Department of
Health, Office of Tobacco Control regarding the progress of the Tobacco
Pilot Program indicated that the Tobacco Pilot Program and its
anti-tobacco media advertising campaign, in less than a year, had a
substantial impact on influencing a significant number of Florida teens
not to smoke.
From February 1998 to 1999, the number of teens who were
current smokers (smoked in the last 30 days) dropped from 23.3% to 20.9%.
This represented 31,000 fewer Florida teenagers who were current
smokers.These results represent the best results ever
obtained in a large scale primary prevention program.
* Although new Republican Governor Jeb Bush publicly called for
the continuation of the Tobacco Pilot Program and the Truth Campaign, the
program's funding was reduced from $70.5 million to $45.2 million (-36%)
for the 1999-2000 Fiscal Year due to legislative votes by Republican
colleagues in the House and the Senate to substantially reduce the
funding of the program.
These cuts were made despite public opinion
polls showing that 49% of the public supported the program without any
cuts and 30% supported the program with the $8.5 million cut proposed by
Governor Bush. Two projects of the Tobacco Pilot Program which are
crucial to maintaining the viability of the program including the Truth
Campaign and administrative support for the Students Working Against
Tobacco (SWAT) also received large budgetary reductions.
* While the Tobacco Pilot Program received substantial funding
cuts in the 1999 Legislative Session, funding for the American Heart
Association's Youth Fitness Program of $3 million and $1 million for the
Just The Facts program which was derived from the $45.2 million Tobacco
Pilot Program budget, would have reduced the amount of funding for
projects directly oriented towards tobacco control efforts to $41.2
million for 1999-2000.
On May 27, 1999, Governor Bush vetoed
these two diversionary projects, as well as the $2.5 million Sports for
Life project which was related to tobacco control, further reducing the
program's funding of projects directly related to tobacco control efforts
from $70.5 million to $38.7 million (-45.1%).
* For the past twenty years, a consistent pattern has emerged with
respect to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association,
and the American Lung Association missing key political opportunities
that would have significantly advanced anti-tobacco efforts and public
health in Florida.
These lost opportunities included failing to
support GASP of Miami in its 1979 Dade County clean indoor air
initiative, supporting the preemption clause in the Florida Clean Indoor
Air Act of 1985 which essentially quashed a blossoming grassroots
anti-tobacco movement, and failing to forcefully advocate for the Tobacco
Pilot Program by holding specific legislators directly and publicly
accountable for the substantial funding cuts that occurred in the 1999
* Since the report was first published, in June 1999, the Bush
Administration laid off a third of the Tobacco Pilot Program staff
including some of its most enthusiastic supporters. Also in June 1999,
the Bush Administration laid off the kids who were instrumental in
getting the Tobacco Pilot Program started.
In July 1999, the Bush
Administration split the program into four parts and sent it to different
parts of the state bureaucracy which made it much more difficult to
manage the program in a coordinated manner. Despite these
continuing efforts to administratively undermine the program, the health
groups did not publicly hold the Bush Administration accountable.
* The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its report,
Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs,
concluded that a strong tobacco control program for Florida would cost $221
million per year. This is five times what the Bush Administration is
spending and only about 1/3 of the annual payments from the tobacco industry
to the State of Florida.
Note: The meeting organizers did not want either Dr. Glantz or
Givel to speak at the meeting because of concerns over "political
sensibilities." Whose sensibilities were at issue was not