Don't Let Big Tobacco Give Smokefree Ordinances the Red Light
Like a criminal on the run, the tobacco industry is resorting to ever more desperate measures to stop local communities from passing smokefree ordinances. The latest tactic, Red Light - Green Light, has shown up recently in communities throughout the country, causing trouble from Montrose, CO, to Niagara County, NY and Monongalia County, WV. Red Light - Green Light policies restrict smoking in only a few public places, then require restaurants to post signs indicating if smoking is allowed (red light), restricted to designated areas (yellow light), or prohibited entirely (green light).

Red Light - Green Light is a red herring. This type of strategy was spelled out in an internal Philip Morris memo as a way to wipe out local smokefree ordinances in California "by introducing smoking accommodation bills" to "confound the antis" and "put them on the defensive". It is nothing more than a retooled version of the Philip Morris "Accommodation" program, originally developed to derail a restaurant smoking ordinance in Pittsburgh, PA.

The tobacco industry and their restaurant association allies are pro-actively introducing these weak laws to forestall the possibility of local communities adopting strong smokefree ordinances. In West Virginia, an attorney linked with the National Smokers Alliance proposed the Red Light - Green Light policy to the Monongalia County Board of Health as an alternative to the 100% smokefree policy being considered by the Board. This same attorney had earlier threatened the Board with a lawsuit challenging the smokefree regulations.

The tobacco industry touts that Spokane, WA has implemented Red Light- Green Light, without mentioning that representatives of the Spokane Regional Health District have gone on record that they do not recommend Red Light - Green Light for communities that have the right to enact local smokefree policies.

DON'T BE FOOLED!!! The only meaningful protection against the dangers of secondhand smoke are completely smokefree public places, workplaces and restaurants. Stop Big Tobacco: Give'm the Red Light!


Beat the tobacco industry to the punch! Pro-actively give policy makers and the media background materials exposing this tobacco industry tactic.

If Red Light - Green Light is introduced in your community, contact ANR immediately.

Spread the word about Red Light - Green Light to other tobacco control advocates and coalitions in your state.