The Heartland Institute is a longtime paid partner of the tobacco industry, with a relationship going back to the 1990’s working to raise doubt about legitimate science of secondhand smoke health risks and to undermine smokefree laws.

On their website, Institute President Joseph L. Bast misleadingly states that they are a “genuinely independent source of research.” Internal industry documents expose Philip Morris contributions to the Heartland Institute totaling over $150,000 in 19971998, and 1999.

Philip Morris and Brown & Williamson Tobacco are also listed as generous sponsors contributing at least $10,000 to the Heartland Institute’s 10th Anniversary Benefit held in 1994.

A 1999 letter to Philip Morris, penned from the Heartland Institute, describes the group’s efforts and seeking additional funding.

In December 2006, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets announced a multi-year partnership project with Heartland Institute to influence public opinion on tobacco issues. “The project is expected to be a multi-year effort beginning in 2007, and will include press releases, letters to editors and a campaign to win coverage in magazines and journals,” according to National Association of Tobacco Outlets president Tom Briant in a press release.

It is always a good idea to know what tobacco industry front groups like the Heartland Institute are up to. Explore their “Smokers Lounge,” where they post misinformation about secondhand smoke, letters to the editor, sample talking points, anecdotal stories intended to encourage opposition of smokefree air policy, and links to smokers’ rights groups.

Sourcewatch highlights other ties between Heartland Institute and the tobacco industry:

“Roy E. Marden, a former member of Heartland’s board of directors, was until May 2003 the manager of industry affairs for the Philip Morris (PM) tobacco company, where his responsibilities included lobbying and “managing company responses to key public policy issues,” which he accomplishes by “directing corporate involvement with industry, business, trade, and public policy organizations and determining philanthropic support thereto.” In a May 1991 document prepared for PM, Marden listed Heartland’s “rapid response network” as a “potential spokesperson” among the “portfolio of organizations” that the company had cultivated to support its interests.”

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