Tobacco Industry Documents

Tobacco Industry Documents on Ventilation

Ventilation does not eliminate the health risks caused by secondhand smoke and the tobacco industry knows it.

Despite this indisputable fact, tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and Lorillard Corporation, have developed a number of strategies on how to "accommodate" both smokers and nonsmokers by keeping them together in the same spaces. Over the years, tobacco industry "accommodation" has morphed into a variety of different forms, ranging from the separation of smoking sections and nonsmoking sections, media relations programs, and most recently, ventilation.

Why does Big Tobacco promote ventilation as a "solution" to secondhand smoke exposure?

" To defeat mandatory and voluntary smoking restrictions…[and] to slow the decline or the social acceptability of smoking." --Philip Morris

How does Big Tobacco do this?

The tobacco industry contracts with external engineers and scientists, such as George Benda's Chelsea Group and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory who are seemingly credible and reputable institutions, to research ways to challenge the credible science of secondhand smoke. These researchers are instructed by the tobacco companies to lump tobacco smoke with other indoor air pollutants, such as mold and dust, in hopes that public discussion will shift away from secondhand smoke as the cause for death and disease to general indoor air quality. By lumping secondhand smoke in with other indoor air pollutants, the tobacco industry is able to project the illusion that ventilation remedies the problem of secondhand smoke exposure just as it does with other airborne contaminants, rather than eliminating the problem at its source with smokefree environments. According to Philip Morris, there was a need "To encourage continued participation of ETS scientists in briefings, publications, seminars, and other efforts that point to environmental tobacco smoke as a minor indoor air quality pollutant."

Knowing that the industry lacks public credibility, tobacco companies create ventilation front groups to influence the hospitality sector and decision-makers from supporting smokefree policies.

In addition, the tobacco industry has been trying to give their ventilation "solution" the weight of law by lobbying and infiltrating ASHRAE [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers], an international body which creates heating, ventilation, and air conditioning standards which are frequently adopted by local governments and given the weight on law.