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

From 1998 to 2000, Michael Pertschuk at the Advocacy Institute (now the Institute for Sustainable Communities), 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.

    In the book the study's principal investigator and author, Michael Pertschuk, recounts:
    • The events and the evolution in the strategic thinking of leadership within The National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids 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."