Book Tracks Success and Failure of Tobacco Control Factions in the National Tobacco Settlement
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.
- 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.
The announcement of a proposed $368-billion tobacco settlement in June 1997 was the culmination of months of intense negotiations among the tobacco industry, state attorneys general, and representatives of the public health community, including CTFK, a 501(c)3 organization established in January 1996 by RWJF to reduce smoking in the United States, specifically among children, and supported through grant ID#s 028086, 028989, 029600, and 035929.
The proposed settlement set forth the terms of comprehensive tobacco control legislation, expected to be easily enacted with bipartisan support in Congress. Yet, only six weeks after the National Tobacco Policy and Youth Smoking Act (S-1415), sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), left the Senate Commerce Committee, the Senate failed by three votes to bring the bill to a vote—effectively ending any hopes of tobacco control legislation.
While the tobacco companies, who at one point seemed to have agreed to the legislation, had mobilized their economic and political power to defeat the bill, other factors contributed to the unexpected turn of events as well. The leadership styles and decisions of the key public health leaders and tobacco control advocates had a profound impact on the strategies of the public health organizations and activists, on the media, and on Congress.
This grant from RWJF supported the preparation of a narrative history and critical evaluation of strategic leadership in the tobacco control movement during the proposed national tobacco settlement negotiations and their aftermath. The specific goals of the project were to:
- Study and analyze the diverse leadership roles, styles, and decision-making methods of tobacco control leaders during this period.
- Test hypotheses on critical leadership roles and advocacy strategies.
- Extract generic lessons in leadership, strategic planning, and intra-movement communications to guide tobacco and other public health efforts.
- Distill the research and analysis into a readily accessible history of tobacco control leadership during this period.
- Provide future researchers with a unique archive through The Library of Congress of the tobacco settlement negotiations and the legislative efforts that ensued.
The principal investigator and author, Michael Pertschuk, Ph.D., is a respected source of knowledge and information on the US tobacco control movement. From 1964 to 1984, he was involved directly in key legislative and regulatory landmarks on tobacco as staff director of the Senate Commerce Committee, and then member and chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He is co-founder and co-director of the Advocacy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization established in 1985 dedicated to strengthening the capacity of social and economic justice advocates to influence and change public policy.
Since 1987, the Institute has provided education, training, and technical assistance to tobacco control leaders in advocating for comprehensive tobacco control policies. RWJF had awarded the Institute nine previous grants for its leadership capacity-building projects (ID#s 020454, 022008, 023488, 023844, 028657, 029134, 033024, 033777, and 034826).
The principal investigator completed a 320-page book, Smoke in Their Eyes: Lessons in Movement Leadership from the Tobacco Wars. Vanderbilt University Press published it in November 2001. In preparing the book, Pertschuk drew from archival research and conducted 44 in-depth interviews with key tobacco control leaders, grassroots activists, public officials, journalists, and others with direct experience and insights into tobacco control. (See Appendix 1 for a list of those interviewed). The book contains four parts:
- Part 1: "Leading toward Settlement," recounts the events, and the evolution in the strategic thinking of Matt Myers (at the time the executive vice president of CTFK, now it's president), and other tobacco control movement leaders that led to their decision to participate in the settlement negotiations and to accept the conditions of secrecy.
- Part 2: "The Settlement," gives the reactions of other movement leaders to the leaked news of the settlement negotiations, the impact of those reactions, the various strategies adopted by movement leaders either to strengthen or scuttle the settlement, the fits and starts of the negotiations themselves, and the emergence of the June 20, 1997 settlement.
- Part 3: "The Rise and Fall of the McCain Bill," traces the internal schism among movement leaders, its impact on White House and congressional response to the settlement, the emergence of the McCain bill, and the collapse of momentum toward comprehensive legislation.
- Part 4: "Lessons from the Settlement and Its Aftermath," looks both backward and forward to gauge what was gained and what was irretrievably lost in the defeat of the June 20, 1997 settlement and the McCain bill. It continues with a series of cautionary lessons, including "Thirteen Ways to Lead a Movement Backward," "The Wrong Leaders for the Right Moment," and a reconstruction of what might have been a successful collaborative leadership strategy.
Pertschuk writes in conclusion about movement leaders that "Visionaries can lose touch with reality and clash with strategic pragmatists; unrestrained 'spark plugs' can paralyze as well as energize; and communicators can degenerate into propagandists, manipulators of science and truth. 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."
The Advocacy Institute incorporated preliminary findings from the investigator's research into its March 1999 40-page report, A Movement Rising: A Strategic Analysis of US Tobacco Control Advocacy, disseminated through mailings and at conferences to 1,000 tobacco control advocates. The investigator presented the book's initial findings in a keynote address June 16, 1999 at the annual meeting of Smokeless States®: National Tobacco Policy Initiative, an RWJF national program that supports development and implementation of comprehensive statewide strategies to reduce tobacco use through education, treatment, and policy initiatives. Pertschuk taught a series of classes on the book at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in the fall 2001 semester. (See Bibliography for complete listing of communications activities.) The Fall 2001 issue of Tobacco Control, published by the British Medical Journal, included a colloquium of comments by experts about issues raised in the book.
AFTER THE GRANT
Approximately one year after the publication of the book, the investigator will deliver the project research files (except those currently protected under journalistic privilege) to the Michael Pertschuk Archive at the Library of Congress. Established at the Library's initiative in 1985, the Archive houses materials related to tobacco control; it is open to media persons and researchers.
The "lessons learned" chapters of the book are being used in the Advocacy Institute's leadership training efforts, both in the United States and overseas, and in leadership curricula development. In addition, the Consortium for Technical Assistance and Training (made up of RWJF, the American Cancer Society, and the Legacy Foundation, which was formed as part of the multistate tobacco settlement) plans to use the book and its lessons in leadership capacity-building efforts. Richard Daynard of the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern Law School in Boston is using the book and the lessons learned in his work with the Legacy Foundation about end-game strategies in tobacco control. Pertschuk is discussing the findings in the book at various speaking engagements.
Building on his research for the current project, Pertschuk intends to write another book on leadership issues in tobacco control on the international level.
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Monograph on Tobacco Control Movement Leadership in the "Global Settlement" Negotiations and Their Aftermath
The Advocacy Institute (Washington, DC)
Dates: August 1998 to December 2000
Michael Pertschuk, Ph.D.
Individuals Interviewed for Smoke In Their Eyes
Litigation and Political Analyst
Aronson Washington Research
Director, Tobacco Law Project
William Mitchell College of Law
St. Paul, Minn.
National Institutes of Health
Americans For Nonsmokers' Rights
Former Vice-President, Government Relations
American Cancer Society
Tobacco Control Law & Policy Consulting
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Deputy Managing Director
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control
Office on Smoking and Health
Americans for Nonsmoker's Rights
Betty Anne Ford
Loaves and Fishes Ministry, Inc.
National Consumers League
Retired CEO, American Heart Association
Santa Fe, N.M.
Director of Government Relations
American Heart Association
International Labor Rights Fund
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
New Haven, Conn.
Former assistant to Matt Myers
C. Everett Koop
National Ready to Learn Council
Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids
Former assistant to David Kessler
Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco
Center for a Tobacco Free New York
Chief Executive Officer
American Cancer Society
Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency
US Congressman (CA-29)
Director of International Framework
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial
Cancer Center & Institute of Oncology
Department of Cancer Control & Epidemiology
American Legacy Foundation
(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)
Pertschuk M. Smoke in Their Eyes: Lessons in Movement Leadership from the Tobacco Wars. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, November 2001.
Pertschuk M. A Movement Rising: A Strategic Analysis of US Tobacco Control Advocacy. Washington: The Advocacy Institute, March 1999. 1,000 copies distributed to date.
Presentations and Testimony
Michael Pertschuk, "A Movement in Flux," keynote address at the 1999 SmokeLess States Annual Meeting, June 16, 1999, Princeton, NJ.
Report prepared by: Kelsey Menehan
Reviewed by: Janet Spencer King
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Joseph F. Marx