US Chamber of Commerce: Shill for Big Tobacco
In June 2015, the New York Times published a series of investigative articles, documenting how the US Chamber of Commerce actively works on behalf of tobacco companies to undermine public health laws around the world including smokefree policies. In response to these news reports, pharmacy chain CVS Health resigned from the group:
"It was the right thing to do for the health and well-being of our customers," CVS said in a statement announcing it had left the group, adding the company's "purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose."
Big Tobacco has a long history of seeking out willing (or unwitting) third party organizations to serve as front groups and allies - such as business and hospitality trade associations. Tobacco companies like to be perceived as just another mainstream business - and as a legitimate stakeholder in public health policy - but they are not. They are pariahs responsible for the #1 preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. and much of the world. The World Health Organization says a mind-boggling one billion people will die from tobacco this century.
The tobacco industrys goal is to maximize sales and product consumption and to make it hard for people to quit. This is in stark contrast to the interests of the broader business community to have vibrant livable communities and a healthy, productive workforce with lower healthcare costs.
ANR urges the broader business community to stand up to Big Tobacco and to keep these merchants of death out of chambers of commerce, trade missions, business forums, and event sponsorships.
Here are additional reports about the U.S. Chamber and the tobacco industry:
CTFK Report: U.S. Chamber: Blowing Smoke for Big Tobacco
Huffington Post: U.S. Chamber of Commerce - A Smokescreen for Big Tobacco
Christian Science Monitor: Why is the US Chamber of Commerce lobbying abroad for smoking?