Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement

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 recover from.

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.