Don't Buy the Ventilation Lie

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May 2006

"Promote improved ventilation as the best solution and a better approach than smoking restriction legislation."
-- Philip Morris (1989)
(Bates No: 2022710093-0129, http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zdj58e00)


Ventilation does not eliminate the health risks caused by secondhand smoke. There is consensus among public health authorities, scientists, technical experts (including those funded by tobacco companies), and air filtration companies, that ventilation cannot eliminate the death and disease caused by secondhand smoke exposure.1 Despite this indisputable fact, tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Lorillard Corporation, have developed a number of strategies to find "comfort and balance for both non-smokers and smokers"2 (coined as "accommodation"), while still keeping them together in the same smoke-filled spaces. Over the years, the tobacco industry's "accommodation" plan has developed into a variety of different forms, ranging from the separation of smoking and nonsmoking sections, to media relations programs, and separately ventilated smoking rooms.

Smokefree advocates and supporters should be on the lookout for ventilation experts and manufacturers touting ventilation as a viable solution to completely smokefree environments.

WHY DOES BIG TOBACCO PROMOTE VENTILATION?

The ventilation "solution" was created in the early 1980s in order "to defeat mandatory and voluntary smoking restrictions… [and] to slow the decline of [the] social acceptability of smoking."3 As smokefree policies have become commonplace across the country, tobacco companies have developed programs to thwart smokefree efforts, as evidenced by their own statements:


HOW DOES BIG TOBACCO MAKE VENTILATION LOOK GOOD?

CHALLENGE THE SCIENCE OF SECONDHAND SMOKE

"Strategy: Increase awareness of the true nature of indoor air pollution. Promote improved ventilation as the best solution and a better approach than smoking restriction legislation."
-- Philip Morris (1989)
(Bates No: 2022710095-0129, http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zdj58e00)

 

The tobacco industry often contracts with external engineers and scientists, who are seemingly credible individuals working for reputable institutions, to research ways to challenge the science of secondhand smoke. According to Philip Morris, there is a need to "Encourage continued participation of ETS [environmental tobacco smoke] scientists in briefings, publications, seminars and other efforts that point to environmental tobacco smoke as a minor indoor air quality factor."8

These researchers are instructed by the tobacco companies to categorize tobacco smoke with other indoor air pollutants, such as mold and dust, in hopes of shifting discussion away from secondhand smoke, so that "Smoking would not be dealt with directly."9 [Emphasis in original.] By lumping secondhand smoke with other indoor air pollutants, the tobacco industry seeks to project the impression that ventilation remedies the problem health risks of secondhand smoke exposure just as it does with other airborne contaminants, and therefore, it is unnecessary to eliminate the problem at its source by creating smokefree environments.

CREATE FRONT GROUPS

"Where necessary, identify and work with indoor air quality allies in preparing legislation establishing acceptable ventilation standards… Conduct indoor air quality briefings with key lawmakers and existing and potential allies to encourage their support of legislative efforts concerning ventilation standards… Encourage indoor air quality allies to participate in existing state ventilation study commissions and promote improved ventilation standards as an effective response."
-- Philip Morris (1989)
(Bates No: 2022710093-0129, http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zdj58e00)

 

Knowing the industry lacks public credibility, tobacco companies create ventilation front groups to influence the hospitality sector and to keep lawmakers from supporting smokefree policies.

 

LOBBY ASHRAE
"ASHRAE recently approved a standard.… The hooker is that, by designating an entire building as a 'no smoking building', no added expense at all would be involved…. It is mind boggling to attempt to calculate the harm that this code would have done to our company and our industry had it been adopted."

-- Bob Moore, Philip Morris (1983)
(Bates No. 1003656769-6770, http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/bqj28e00)



The tobacco industry has been trying to give its "ventilation solution" credibility by lobbying the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) - the international standard setting body for indoor air quality. The tobacco companies work with the American Gaming Association and the National Restaurant Association - both former members of Philip Morris' now defunct HCIAQ front group - to lobby ASHRAE to create separate ventilation standards, which include smoking, for hospitality venues. This effort to create a separate standard has been routinely dismissed and struck down by ASHRAE. All attempts have failed.

Tobacco companies continue to lose ground with ASHRAE. Its ventilation standard for "acceptable indoor air quality" specifies ventilation rates and procedures for smokefree environments only. In addition, the ASHRAE Board of Directors has unanimously adopted a position document on secondhand smoke that reaffirms that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; that ventilation and other air cleaning systems cannot eliminate all the health risks caused by secondhand smoke exposure; and that secondhand smoke does not belong indoors.

If smokefree opponents advocate ventilation as a solution in your community, contact ANR for assistance.

REFERENCES

  1. [n.a.], "Ventilation and Air Filtration: What Air Filtration Companies and the Tobacco Industry Are Saying," Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, September 2004.
  2. [n.a.], "[Web page from Philip Morris' Options.]," www.pmoptions.com, April 2001.
  3. [n.a.], "Conceptual Framework of Comprehensive Public Smoking Program," Philip Morris, 1989, Bates No: 2022710093-0129. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zdj58e00.
  4. [n.a.], "Ensuring Reasonable Smoking Policies by Accommodating the Preferences of Smokers and Nonsmokers," Philip Morris, December 20, 1996, Bates No: 2063913215-3300. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xhh32d00.
  5. [n.a.], "Conceptual Framework of Comprehensive Public Smoking Program," Philip Morris, 1989, Bates No: 2022710093-0129. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zdj58e00.
  6. [n.a.], "Indoor Air Quality Alternative Strategy," Philip Morris, 1989, Bates No: 2025858759. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vrr85e00.
  7. [n.a.], "Conceptual Framework of Comprehensive Public Smoking Program," Philip Morris, 1989, Bates No: 2022710093-0129. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zdj58e00.
  8. [Ibid., 1989.
  9. [n.a.], "Indoor Air Quality Alternative Strategy," Philip Morris, 1989, Bates No: 2025858759. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vrr85e00.
  10. Benda, G.; Logue, M., "Agreement," Philip Morris, October 20, 1993, Bates No: 2024207276-7281. Accessed on October 15, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jwn46e00.
  11. Barnes, D.; Bero, L.; Glantz, S.; Hanauer, P.; Slade, J., The Cigarette Papers, University of California Press (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London) 1996: pp. 301.
  12. Carchman, R.A.; Ellis, C.; Opocensky, M., "Voucher," Philip Morris, February 26, 1997, Bates No: 2063653946. Accessed on October 15, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/dig67e00.
  13. Batt, T. "Standards Seen as Smoke Screen Casinos: Ventilation Rules Air to Stymie Smokers," Las Vegas Review Journal, April 9, 2001, Bates No: 2083488418. Accessed on October 15, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jcs92c00.
  14. Dreyer, L.P., "SHB, Shook, Hardy & Bacon," Philip Morris, December 20, 1993, Bates No: 2023852751, Accessed on October 15, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/max71f00.
  15. Barnes, D.E., Bero, L.A., "Industry-funded research and conflict of interest: an analysis of research sponsored by the tobacco industry through the Center for Indoor Air Research," Journal of Health Politics 21(3): 515-542, Fall 1996.
  16. Cohen, J., "Tobacco money lights up a debate: grants from tobacco companies provide a large and growing source of support for basic biomedical research, but critics charge that the funds help the industry sow doubts about the hazards of smoking," Science 272: 488-494, April 26, 1996.
  17. Munger, F., "Oak Ridge lab to do smoke study," Knoxville News-Sentinel, February 13, 2003.
  18. [n.a.], "New ORNL project takes aim at heart of air quality, health issue." Communications and Community Outreach, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 4, 2004. http://www.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/get_press_release.cfm?ReleaseNumber=mr20040604-00.
  19. [n.a.], "USA Programs: Places Programs Technical Support Request as of 980402," Philip Morris, April 2, 1998, Bates No: 2060566300-6301. Accessed on October 14, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pld13e00.
  20. [n.a.], "AtmospherePlus A Program for the National Licensed Beverage Association and the Licensed Beverage Industry 1998," Philip Morris, November 1998, Bates No: 2065072166-2184. Accessed on October 22, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/kcs94c00.
  21. [n.a.], "NLBA Announces Industry-Wide Education Initiative to Protect Business Owner Choice," Philip Morris, July 27, 1999, Bates No: 2075195272. Accessed on October 22, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/cbr52c00.
  22. Ibid., 1999.
  23. [n.a.], "AtmospherePlus Suggested Messages/ Q&A for the NLBA," Philip Morris, April 1999, Bates No: 2078794493-4497. Accessed on October 22, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/anh82c00.
  24. [n.a.], "[Web page re: Options mission statement.]," www.pmoptions.com, [n.d.]. Accessed on October 2003.
  25. Culley, E., "Options," Philip Morris, January 31, 2000, Bates No: 2072395494. Accessed on October 15, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/dop27d00.
  26. [n.a.]. "[Indoor Air Quality Coalition Report]" Philip Morris, December 1999, Bates No: 2072395606. Accessed on October 15, 2004. Download at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zlp27d00.
  27. [n.a.], "[HCIAQ website re: objectives.], " www.hciaq.org, Accessed on September 12, 2004.