Glantz: Going Federal A Big
Tactical Error At This Time
In reading statements out of several
groups (AHA, APHA, etc) and today's NY Times, I see people continuing to
talk about federal legislation. If the AG deal moves forward, trying to
move federal legislation at this time would be a BIG mistake.
Everyone agrees that a big hunk of the money that the AG's are getting
in exchange for caving in to the tobacco companies should go to tobacco
control activities and the experience from California and Massachusetts
shows that such programs can work. The experience also shows that the tobacco
industry has learned how to run such programs into the ground.
Experience also shows that the initial implementation of these programs
is VERY important and that mistakes, once made, are almost impossible to
Given that the public health people have limited resources, I stongly
urge the national organizations to put their federal plans on hold and
concentrate on helping the states make the best of the situation that the
AG's look like they are creating.
It would be a real shame if, after the AG's sell public health down
the river on this deal, public health then lets the politicians put the
money in couthouses and highways rather than meaningful tobacco control
while public health beats its head against a Congressional wall.