Book Tracks Success and Failure of Tobacco Control Factions in the National Tobacco Settlement

Monograph on tobacco control movement leadership in the global settlement negotiations and their aftermath

From 1998 to 2000, Michael Pertschuk at the Advocacy Institute, Washington, prepared a narrative history and critical evaluation of strategic leadership in the tobacco control movement during the national tobacco settlement negotiations, the failed legislation that followed, and the aftermath.

Key Results

  • Called Smoke In Their Eyes: Lessons in Movement Leadership from the Tobacco Wars, the 320-page book draws from archival research and 44 in-depth interviews with key tobacco control leaders, grassroots activists, public officials, journalists, and others with direct experience and insights into tobacco control.

    Vanderbilt University Press published the book in November 2001. The study's principal investigator and author, Michael Pertschuk, is co-founder of the Advocacy Institute.

    In the book he recounts:
    • The events and the evolution in the strategic thinking of leadership within The National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, a program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and other tobacco control movement leaders that led to their decision to participate in the settlement negotiations.
    • The reactions of other movement leaders to the settlement negotiations and their impact, and the various strategies and actions movement leaders employed either to strengthen or scuttle the settlement.
    • The negotiations that led to the June 1997 settlement.
    • The impact of the internal schism among movement leaders on White House and congressional responses to the settlement.
    • The emergence and collapse of the tobacco settlement bill sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.).
    • Lessons learned from the settlement and its aftermath.

    The author concludes about the movement leadership that, "leadership conflicts, if not acknowledged and remedied, can arrest a movement's progress, transforming a potentially dynamic and complementary leadership into a nightmare of dysfunctional conflict and a downward spiral of distrust, frustration, and anger."


RWJF supported the project with a grant of $143,896 between August 1998 and December 2000.