"Tobacco Scam" Campaign Counters Claims about the Adverse Effects of Clean Air Laws on Restaurants and Bars

From 2001 to 2007, project staff at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine ran an educational campaign called "Tobacco Scam" to counter tobacco industry claims about the adverse effects of clean indoor air ordinances on the restaurant business.

Key Results

  • The project ran a series of 19 ads in two leading hospitality industry publications. The tobacco company Philip Morris subsequently dropped its ad campaign in the same publications.

  • The project ran two ads challenging the acceptance by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) of tobacco industry claims about restaurant ventilation. In 2005, ASHRAE's board issued a policy paper that stated that secondhand smoke could not be controlled by ventilation.

  • During the grant period, opposition to smoke-free restaurants by people in the hospitality industry declined, according to the project director. The grantee's report to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) notes, "While many factors have contributed to this change, we believe that the educational efforts of the Tobacco Scam campaign have played a role."