ASH was formed in 1967 by John F. Banzhaf III, and a distinguished body of physicians, attorneys and other prominent citizens who saw the need for an effective organization to represent nonsmokers' rights. Although its income is tiny compared with the big national health organizations also active in the field, ASH has been a major factor in the war against smoking. For this reason, and because of its location in the nation's media center, ASH has also emerged as a major spokesperson for nonsmokers on radio and television and in the print media.
Unlike the many smaller state, local and specialty antismoking
organizations with which it cooperates closely, ASH is active with
regard to all aspects of the problems of smoking and nonsmokers'
rights, and has a truly national focus.
MORE THAN 40 YEARS OF PROGRESS
In the many years following the release of the original "Surgeon General's Report" on smoking in January of 1964, the war on smoking has made enormous progress, and ASH has played a major role. Below are a number of the most important events and milestones in this 39 year war on smoking.
Original "Surgeon General's Report" issued.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposes to require health warnings indicating that cigarette smoking is "dangerous to health and may cause death from cancer and other diseases."
Instead the "Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act" requires a weaker warning and prevents the FTC and states from any other regulation of tobacco advertising.
John F. Banzhaf III, files a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), arguing that stations broadcasting cigarette commercials should be required to provide free time for the opposing view.
In response Banzhaf's petition, the FCC rules that the "Fairness Doctrine" applies to cigarette commercials, and that radio and television stations must devote hundreds of millions of dollars worth of broadcast time to antismoking messages
Delegates from 34 countries attend the first World Conference on Smoking and Health in New York
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is formed by Banzhaf and others to defend and enforce the Fairness Doctrine ruling, and to add legal action as a new weapon to war on smoking.
ASH files a complaint with the FTC charging the Tobacco Institute with ghost writing and deceptively promoting pro-smoking articles in True and National Enquirer. FTC upholds complaint, and urges a ban on cigarette commercials.
US Court of Appeals upholds, in case entitled Banzhaf vs. FCC, "Fairness Doctrine" ruling requiring broadcasters to carry anti-smoking messages.
ASH files complaint with the FTC charging several tobacco companies with widely promoting filter cigarettes in so-called "Gas Derby" based on an article they knew was misleading. Gas Derby ceases.
FCC rules that stations cannot present all anti-smoking messages during non-prime hours, and must present a significant number during prime time when cigarette commercials are presented.
US Supreme Court agrees with a brief filed by ASH and lets stand Banzhaf vs. FCC decision upholding the application of the fairness doctrine to require reply time to cigarette commercials.
ASH collects evidence that ambient tobacco smoke is a health hazard, and files a petition with the Civil Aeronautics Board CAB seeking separate smoking and no-smoking sections aboard aircraft. The rule is adopted, and becomes effective in 1973.
ASH's Fairness Doctrine decision eventually forces cigarette manufacturers to agree to the ban on cigarette commercials which begins January 2, 1972.
Responding to a request from ASH, United Air Lines becomes the first carrier to institute smoking and no-smoking sections.
ASH publishes Tobacco and the Nonsmoker: Hazards of Smoke in the Air, the first major report on the hazards of ambient tobacco smoke. The first such report by HEW is issued by the Surgeon General in January 1972.
ASH files a petition with the Department of Justice charging that television ads for "Winchester," a so-called "little cigar," violates the ban on cigarette advertising. The ads are eventually discontinued in February 1973.
Secretary Elliott Richardson of the HEW accepts ASH's proposals to adopt the first restrictions on smoking in federal buildings.
Citing an ASH amicus curiae brief, a special three-judge US District Court upholds the constitutionality of the law prohibiting broadcast advertising for cigarettes.
The US Supreme Court agrees ASH's brief and affirms that the law banning cigarette commercials is constitutional.
Led by ASH Trustee Betty Carnes, Arizona becomes the first state to pass a comprehensive law protecting nonsmokers.
ASH's John Banzhaf defends the Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) rule restricting smoking on buses before the US District Court. The rule is upheld in January 1974.
A CAB rule proposed by ASH mandating no-smoking sections on airplanes becomes final.
A CAB rule proposed by ASH mandating no-smoking sections on airplanes becomes final.
ASH legal action forces the long-delayed release of HEW's report on smoking and health.
An ASH petition sparks an investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the dangers of carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke.
ASH reports to the Third World Conference on Smoking and Health that major antismoking organizations permit smoking in their own offices and meetings. The body condemns the practice.
The FTC, in response to ASH's petition, sues the six major cigarette manufacturers concerning their billboard ads.
With help from ASH, Donna Shimp, an office worker allergic to smoke, gets an injunction prohibiting smoking in her office.
Allegheny Airlines agrees to pay an $8,000 penalty and changes its no-smoking policy to settle complaints filed by ASH with the CAB.
Responding to an ASH petition, the FTC announces the beginning of a probe into the tobacco industry's. The probe eventually results in the release of secret tobacco industry surveys.
The ICC responds to an ASH petition by strengthening its rules restricting smoking on trains by banning smoking entirely in dining cars and designated no-smoking cars.
An ASH request results in a ban on smoking aboard mobile lounges at Dulles International Airport.
An ASH petition results in strong warnings about the dangers of smoking while taking birth control pills.
The "Great American Smokeout" becomes a national event.
ASH attorneys successfully assist in the defense of a Dade County, Florida no-smoking statute. The court says its constitutional.
Responding to a petition by ASH, the CAB requires special segregation for pipe and cigar smokers on planes. Shortly thereafter, many airlines ban pipe and cigar smoking entirely.
ASH negotiates settlement whereby TWA and Eastern Airlines are forced to pay large fines and provide more protection for nonsmokers. ASH complaints at the CAB yield additional settlements with three more airlines, bringing total fines to over $24,000.
The Surgeon General reports that cigarette smoking is a major threat to women's health.
ASH protests the appointment of Jerry Apodaca, a director of Philip Morris Co., to chair the President's Council on Physical Fitness. Mr. Apodaca resigns after several months.
Both TWA and Pan Am adopt new seating configurations to provide substantially increased protection for nonsmoking passengers, an action triggered by complaints filed by ASH
ASH asks major air carriers to protect nonsmoking passengers from exposure to tobacco smoke while in airports. All the major carriers, except Eastern, eventually comply.
Insurance companies begin offering discounts on life insurance premiums to nonsmokers.
A bill restricting smoking in enclosed public places is signed into law in New Hampshire.
The Merit Systems Promotions Board of the Civil Service and the Dept. of Labor rule that employers must make reasonable accommodations to persons sensitive to tobacco smoke.
ASH takes the CAB to court to challenge the new rules which reduce the protection provided for nonsmoking passengers.
An ASH-inspired lawsuit brought by the FTC against the six major cigarette manufacturers was settled with the companies agreeing to increase the size of warning notices on cigarette billboards.
A federal district court holds that a person sensitive to tobacco smoke is a "handicapped person" and that employers must make a "reasonable accommodation" to this handicap.
The No-Net-Cost Tobacco Program Act of 1982 passes, supposedly providing that the tobacco price support and production adjustment program will now operate at no net cost to taxpayers.
The US Court of Appeals unanimously rules in ASH's favor and orders the CAB to reinstate three previously effective anti-smoking regulations it rescinded in 1981.
Cigarette tax revenues will finance cancer research in New Jersey.
ASH petitions the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require smoke detectors in airplane lavatories. The rule is eventually adopted in 1985.
The FDA approves "Nicorette", a nicotine-based chewing gum, as a smoking cessation aid.
The New York State Assembly passes a bill proposed by Pete Grannis to prevent the free distribution of sample cigarettes in New York.
ASH helps persuade the National Association of Health Commissioners (NAIC) to call for higher health insurance premiums for smokers, a move which eventually results in this changes by several companies.
San Francisco passes an ordinance requiring businesses to accomodate nonsmokers, even if it means banning smoking in an office,
ASH assists the Indian Health Service in creating a nationwide smokefree environment in their facilities.
ASH holds First World Conference on Nonsmokers' Rights in Washington, DC.
ASH attorneys assist Florida in successfully defending the constitutionality of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommends a total ban on smoking aboard domestic airlines.
Both the US Navy and Army limit tobacco use in their facilities, and ban the sale of tobacco products inside all medical and dental facilities. The General Services Administration (GSA) implements new smoking regulations in all federal work sites.
In separate reports, the National Research Council of the NAS, and the U.S Public Health Service in conjunction with the Surgeon General, both conclude that secondhand tobacco smoke causes lung cancer and lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers.
ASH joins the American Public Health Association and the Public Citizen Health Research Group in asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ban smoking in common workplaces.
All smoking is prohibited in restaurants in Beverly Hills, California and Aspen, Colorado.
The federal government permits a federally qualified HMO to require smokers to pay a higher premium than nonsmokers.
Massachusetts bans recently hired police and fire fighters from smoking off-the-job.
President Reagan a law a banning smoking on short flights. Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International ban smoking entirely.
The Surgeon General reports that nicotine is a drug which can be as addictive as heroin.
ASH helps defeat a law suit against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in New York for eliminating all smoking cars.
A new medical study reports that involuntary or passive smoking kills approximately 46,000 American adults a year.
Californians pass Proposition 99 which raises the cigarette by 25¢; some of which will finance antismoking educational programs.
ASH helps to defeat a "smokers' rights" bill in Maryland, a bill seen as the first step in a new tobacco industry strategy to give smokers the right to sue on the basis of alleged discrimination.
ASH follows its legal petition to OSHA with a lawsuit seeking to require the agency to ban or severely limit smoking in all US workplaces.
ASH assists Congressman Tom Luken in documenting how tobacco companies pay producers to feature cigarettes and smoking in movies.
ASH plays a major role in persuading Congress to ban smoking on domestic airline flights. The ban goes into effect in 1990.
Oregon begins requiring death certificates to list whether smoking was a contributing factor.
The ICC, in response to an ASH petition, votes unanimously to ban smoking on all regular and special routes of interstate buses.
ASH Freedom of Information Act request forces EPA to release the technical compendium it ETS report, a document which includes an estimate that ETS kills more than 50,000 Americans each year.
ASH attorneys provide new information and documents to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In its finalized report NIOSH concluded that ETS meets the criteria of OSHA for classification as a potential occupational carcinogen.
Nicotine skin patches are introduced as a new aid to help smokers quit.
Courts begin making widespread use of a legal principle promoted by ASH to protect children from smoking in the home.
A study estimates that ETS causes 35-40,000 heart attack deaths in American nonsmokers each year.
The Supreme Court holds that cigarette manufacturers could be held liable to smokers the companies made false statements, or conspired to misrepresent or conceal the hazards of smoking.
The International Civil Aviation Organization voted to urge its members to "restrict smoking progressively on all international flights," leading to a total ban by 1996.
The EPA officially determines that secondhand tobacco smoke is a "Group A carcinogen" which kills an estimated 3,000 Americans each year from lung cancer alone, and creates widespread and very serious risks for children.
Hillary Clinton bans smoking in the White House.
As a direct result of ASH pressure, several fast-food restaurant chains either experiment with or completely ban smoking in their outlets.
Responding to information provided by ASH, the Clinton Administration recommends a 75-cent per pack increase in the cigarette excise tax to help finance health care reform.
ASH testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee on the need for a much higher cigarette excise tax.
Vermont's Clean Indoor Air Law becomes the first statewide statute banning smoking entirely.
The city of Los Angeles bans smoking in all restaurants.
The US Supreme Court holds that it is "cruel and unusual punishment" to expose a prisoner to levels of tobacco smoke which place his health at risk.
The U.S. Postal Service bans smoking in all of its facilities, including lobbies, offices, and cafeterias.
Three appellate courts in Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey rule that municipalities may ban the sale of cigarettes through vending machines.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that ETS levels in non-smoking sections of restaurants were significantly higher than in office workplaces or homes with one or more smokers.
McDonald's Corp bans smoking in it's company-owned restaurants, followed by Chuck E. Cheese's, Arby's, Taco Bell, and Dairy Queen.
Congress passes the Pro-Children Act of 1994 which bans smoking in schools, day care centers, Head Start programs, and other places receiving federal funding for children's services.
U.S. Dept of Defense bans smoking in all its workplaces
Congress investigates allegations that tobacco companies put extra nicotine into their cigarettes to make them more addictive.
OSHA formally proposes a rule to ban smoking in the workplace.
The Food and Drug Administration proposes to regulate nicotine as a drug.
A tobacco-sponsored initiative that would abolish a new California
law banning smoking in virtually all workplaces including restaurants
Delta Air Lines bans smoking aboard its international flights.
Dunkin' Donuts bans smoking in its shops.
ASH helps persuade court to rule that there's no legal right to smoke
ASH successfully defends Maryland's Occupational Safety and Health rules banning smoking in the workplace, which are the strongest state smoking regulations in the nation.
Following ASH complaint to the Department of Justice, Philip Morris agrees to remove ads from sports stadiums.
A Florida court rules that there's no right to smoke, even off-the-job.
The FDA, based upon an ASH precedent, proposes the first
comprehensive regulation of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
ASH's complaint triggers federal investigation of smoking in movies
ASH files formal complaint seeking a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice of smoking in the movies.
ASH's kids contest supporting the FDA tobacco rules results in
largest regulatory filing in American history ever made by children and
a special White House award to ASH.
ASH helps persuade President to ban smoking in virtually all federal buildings
The Advisory Committee on Tobacco Policy and Public Health, of which
ASH is a member, issues a report in effect condemning the proposed
attorney general tobacco settlement.
ASH helps form "Save Lives, Not Tobacco" a coalition of over 300 anti-smoking, public health and other organizations which was a major factor in denying immunity to the tobacco industry.
ASH and others help prevent Congressional approval of national tobacco settlement with immunity for cigarette manufacturers.
ASH exposes tobacco industry movie product placement, including the Muppet Movie.
Despite ASH's legal actions, the multi-state tobacco settlement
ASH helped persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to consider restoring the FDA's jurisdiction over cigarettes.
ASH got the support of U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], and the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] for its proposal to require health warnings for cigars.
ASH helped uphold an important $350 million settlement for nonsmokers in Florida which has become final.
ASH helped convince Montgomery County, MD, to ban smoking in all restaurants and bars.
ASH has persuaded several major restaurant chains to review their policies regarding smoking.
ASH helped prevent Liggett Tobacco Company from escaping liability for its cigarettes.
ASH helped to formulate the legal theories behind the government's suit against big tobacco, and to prevent Senate attempts to cut off all funding for the suit.
ASH found a key legal precedent which may prove decisive in persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to restore the FDA's jurisdiction over cigarettes.
ASH provides hundreds of thousands of nonsmokers with information about the problems of smoking and how to protect their rights.
ASH appeared numerous times on virtually all major TV news programs, and on hundreds of individual programs, in newspapers and magazines, speaking on behalf of nonsmokers.
ASH helped "get the goods" on a so-called tobacco industry expert.
ASH helps kill sellout settlement with Liggett Tobacco Company
ASH gets health warnings on cigars
ASH helps achieve ban on flights to and from the US
Negotiations begin for the Framework Convention Alliance. The first
international treaty that deals exclusively with tobacco issues.
ASH successfully helped in persuading President Bill Clinton to issue an executive order prohibiting the government from promoting the sale or export of tobacco products.
ASH helps persuade court that there is no legal right to smoke.
ASH helps several states in their efforts to increase cigarette excise taxes.
ASH helps prompt cigarette Ad Ban in Niger.
ASH coordinates International Tobacco Control Meeting In Africa.
ASH ensures that Nonsmokers rights remain a key provision in the
negotiations of the first international tobacco treaty.(The Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control)
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is unanimously adopted at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. ASH was identified as playing a crucial role during the development of this first legally binding tobacco treaty.
ASH aids New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in passing
STATEWIDE smokefree workplace legislation.
ASH helps promote and support a global network for coordinated international campaigning against tobacco; developing tobacco control capacity, particularly in developing countries; and carrying out effectively the Watchdog function for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
ASH was instrumental in the adoption of a strong Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The first international treaty negotiated by the 192 member states of the World Health Organization that aims to reduce the global tobacco epidemic.
ASH's staff is appointed to lead the Framework Convention Alliance, an international coalition of over 200 non governmental organizations from over 100 countries.
ASH counsels Sweden on a comprehensive smoking ban.
ASH aids New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in passing STATEWIDE smokefree workplace legislation.
ASH backs bills in Georgia and New York to restrict smoking in motor vehicles where young children are present.
ASH's staff leads the Framework Convention Alliance in an effort to ratify and bring the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control into force.
ASH fights for the rights of foster children. ASH filed legal petitions demanding states to pass legislation that protects them from the dangers of secondhand smoke in homes and automobiles.
ASH played a major role in removing an amendment to a U.S. House bill which would have spent $9.6 Billion taxpayer dollars to a fund a "buyout" to end the depression era growth quotas for US tobacco farmers.
ASH travels to NYC in a last ditch effort to garner support for the Framework Convention in the final days leading up to the June 29, 2004 signature deadline. ASH helped collect an additional 22 signatures for the treaty and 1 ratification in only 2 days.
ASH has targeted Attorneys General in all states that still allow smoking in government buildings with a letter campaign and a legal brief urging them to protect citizens from tobacco smoke - and the government from liability - by immediately banning smoking in publicly-owned buildings.
ASH filed a formal legal complaint with the EU Commission.
The complaint caused:
● several countries to ban virtually all cigarette advertising
● proceedings to be brought in the World Court against several others
● Germany beginning to move towards a ban on smoking in public places
ASH’s complaint to the Attorneys General of the 50 different states helps trigger:
● an agreement by Philip Morris not to ship cigarettes to any outlet found by an attorney general to have sold cigarettes illegally on the Internet
● an agreement by FedEx and other carriers to prevent the delivery of illegally sold cigarettes
● an agreement by many major credit card companies to cooperate in the crackdown
● several states have begun taxing the sale of cigarettes over the Internet
ASH produced a white paper outlining the many reasons for banning smoking outdoors which has been a major factor in persuading many jurisdictions to ban smoking in outdoor areas, including parks, beaches, playgrounds, and even on the sidewalk
ASH helped to run the first Conference of the Parties at which the delegates adopted protocols and other techniques for enforcing the world’s first antismoking and nonsmokers’ rights treaty – the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC]
ASH helped to persuade the District of Columbia to ban smoking in virtually all public places, including bars and restaurants
ASH helped persuade Calabasas, California, to become the first city to ban smoking virtually everywhere outdoors, and to declare smoking to be a “public nuisance”; a move now being followed – at ASH’s urging – by other jurisdictions
ASH helps persuade CBS-TV to declare a plan by Scotts Miracle Gro to refuse to hire smokers to be a “national model” and the “new reality”
In a related development, ASH helped persuade Newsweek to strengthen and broaden an article about nonsmokers’ rights to include ASH’s successes in restricting smoking in homes to protect children
ASH successfully opposed a smokers’ rights bill in the State of Washington
ASH produced a legal document proving that it would be constitutional and legal for the state of Arkansas to pass a proposed bill which would ban smoking by women while they are pregnant
ASH opened a new frontier in the war to protect nonsmokers’ rights by filing a successful complaint on behalf of a woman and her fetus about her sensitivity to tobacco smoke residue in the workplace
ASH’s request triggered a decision by the State of Tennessee to treat smokers more strictly than nonsmokers in terms of benefits under Medicaid
ASH helped persuade more antismoking groups and individuals to declare that unnecessarily subjecting children to secondhand tobacco smoke can constitute “child abuse”
ASH helps the State of Colorado to defend its comprehensive smoking ban law
ASH helps persuade other antismoking organizations to begin warning nonsmokers that as little as 30 minutes of exposure to tobacco smoke can trigger a fatal heart attack.
ASH helps the State of Colorado to defend its comprehensive smoking ban law
ASH’s programs to encourage bans to protect children at home from
unnecessary exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke continues to add new
states to the lists of those in which judges have banned smoking to
protect children involved in divorce, and states which have banned
smoking in homes with foster children. ASH also begins moving to
expand the program to adoptions
ASH defends the legal effectiveness of a suggestions to sue physicians who fail – in violation of federal guidelines – to assist smokers to quit, a proposal made in a major journal
ASH produces a major legal document about why there is no legal right to smoke, and why there is no need to balance nonsmokers’ rights with so-called “smoker’s rights”
ASH continued expending the new front in the nonsmokers’ right war
designed to protect children from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke
– a movement which has already resulted in judges in the majority of
states issuing orders banning smoking in cars and homes when children
involved in divorce are present, and in many states now banning smoking
in cars and homes when foster children are present – by suggesting and
supporting the application of similar requirements regarding the
adoption of children.
In a further follow up and expansion of this new front protecting children from exposure to tobacco smoke, ASH was instrumental in developing and promulgating arguments for banning smoking in cars when children are present – a movement which caused a number of states and other jurisdictions to begin doing so during the year.
ASH defended the legal validity of a tactic proposed in a major medical journal to consider holding physicians liable when they deliberately fail to follow well-established medical guidelines requiring them to warn smoking patients about the dangers of smoking, and to provide some meaningful supportive treatment, if the patient then subsequently has a heart attack or other serious illness, and the failure to warn and treat was a substantial factor in causing that medical problem.
Because the issue of so-called “smokers’ rights” or of an alleged “right to smoke” kept being brought up in legal and legislative procedures, ASH prepared a detailed and heavily footnoted legal brief showing that there is no constitutional, legal, or even moral right to smoke, although the legal right of nonsmokers to be protected from secondhand tobacco smoke is well established.
In a related matter, when someone charged in a major travel column that smokers were being treated as “second-class tourists,” ASH’s John Banzhaf provided a major rebuttal which was featured in the column which appeared in dozens of newspapers.
ASH, working behind the scenes, and while serving as the Secretariat of the huge Framework Convention Alliance [FCA], helped to persuade the delegates charged with enforcing the world antismoking and nonsmokers’ rights treaty [Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] to adopt very tough guidelines for enforcing the guarantees designed to protect nonsmokers from tobacco smoke. More than two dozen countries have already banned smoking in most public places.
ASH’s Executive Director John Banzhaf was chosen to give a keynote address at the Fourth World Conference on Nonsmokers’ Rights on the many new frontiers and fronts in the war to protect nonsmokers’ rights which ASH has been able to open up and support. He also was a major organizer of the Conference.
ASH wrote a strong letter of support to all legislators in California proposing and supporting a ban on smoking when children are present. Shortly thereafter, our largest state passed just such a ban; one which is not only continuing to inspire other states as well as jurisdictions around the world, but still remains the most expensive of the bans.
Following its earlier success in persuading the City Council of Calabasas, California, to ban smoking in virtually all outdoor areas, ASH’s letter to the City Council of El Cajon, California helped persuade it to adopt a ban which many are saying is even stricter – another step towards inspiring still more jurisdictions to further extend the protections for nonsmokers.
In addition to its so-far very successful campaign to urge laws banning smoking whenever children are present in a car, ASH researched and developed a more comprehensive and sweeping proposal for smoking to join activities like cell phone use, watching videos, text messaging, etc. from being permitted in any car because, like these other activities, smoking substantially increases the risk of an accident.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), as part of the campaign it organized several years ago, wrote letters to several East Coast beaches – including Bethany in Delaware – asking for a ban on smoking at the beach to protect the great majority of beach visitors who are nonsmokers. Bethany has agreed, and its beaches will be virtually smokefree during the summer of 2008.
ASH was the only organization to expose that Marriott – contrary to its pledge to be "100 percent smoke-free" by September 2006 in all of its all "guest rooms, restaurants, lounges, meeting rooms, public space and employee work areas," has now reneged and agreed to again permit smoking. ASH then began a well-coordinated campaign to alert nonsmokers, antismoking organizations both here and abroad, and the media to this breach. The result has been hundreds of emails to Marriott from casual guests, and even members of their elite programs, castigating them for this decision, and in most cases telling Marriott that they would not longer patronize its hotels.
When ASH learned that R.J. Reynolds, in apparent violation of the Multi-State Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement, had an ad in Rolling Stone magazine which featured cartoon characters, it immediately wrote to all of the attorneys general to complain and to support legal action against the tobacco giant. As a result of the law suits, Reynolds agreed to suspend the ads.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) was the first antismoking organization to widely warn, in very stark terms, that exposure to drifting tobacco smoke for as little as 30 minutes could substantially increase a nonsmokers’ risk of a heart attack virtually to that of a smoker, and could in fact trigger a fatal heart attack, especially in nonsmokers who were already at increase risk. ASH’s message was soon picked up by almost 100 additional antismoking organizations, and became the basis for arguments for smoking bans in dozens if not hundreds of jurisdictions around the country. Indeed, it was so effective that its central conclusion was soon attacked, but ASH in response produced a well researched document with extensive citations which completely rebutted the attack and helped to pave the way for even more bans on smoking in public places, outdoors, and in cars.
ASH issued a press release
its SMOKING AND
featured a lengthy piece on the problems of smoking and those with
mental illness – a topic largely ignored by other major antismoking
organizations, even though nearly 70% of people with mental illness
smoke and consume more than 40% of all cigarettes. In part for
this reason, their life expectancy is 25 years shorter than
average. ASH noted that many people who are hospitalized with
mental illness are involuntarily subjected to tobacco smoke, even
though such conduct by medical professionals and health facilities may
constitute medical malpractice and create other legal liabilities for
ASH wrote a strong and detailed letter to all fifty state commissioners of health reminding them of federal guidelines requiring all physicians to thoroughly warn all smoking patients of the many dangers of such tobacco use, and further provide that “every patients who uses tobacco should be offered at least of one of [two] treatments.” ASH noted a recent study showing that compliance with this guidelines by physicians was very low, and that substantially increasing compliance could save as many as 40,000 lives a year by helping many more smokers quit. Shortly thereafter, New York State enlarged its campaign to persuade doctors to comply with these guidelines.
ASH prepared and sent a detailed letter in support of a proposal in Great Britain to require all smokers to have a license to purchase tobacco products. ASH pointed out that such a license – in addition to raising money and imposing a burden on those who wished to continue smoking – could also do the following: require smokers to read documents about the dangers of smoking both to themselves and to others in their families, require them to accept these dangers for themselves, educate them about the many techniques and products available to help them quit, require smokers to get periodic health exams (e.g., chest X-rays) to provide the earliest possible warning about cancer and other conditions.
During the early months of 2008, ASH issued many press releases on behalf of nonsmokers. One pointed out that the health plans of the major presidential candidates largely ignored the easiest and least expensive ways to slash health care costs: prohibit smoking in public places, raise taxes on cigarettes, and charge smokers more for health insurance, including under Medicare and Medicaid (as Tennessee is now doing). Another pointed out, long before the major financial meltdown which occurred later in the year, that the credit rating of the U.S. was being threatened by the enormous costs posed by unhealthy habits like smoking.
ASH wrote a strong and detailed letter to the officials responsible for the new federal guidelines for physicians concerning smoking [“Treating Tobacco Use and Dependent Clinical Practice Guidelines”] asking them to make the guidelines even more effective. ASH advised the body, and in separate press releases warned physicians, that failure to comply could result in medical malpractice actions against the responsible doctors. ASH reminded the group and the nation’s doctors that low compliance rates by physicians cause over 40,000 totally unnecessary deaths among smokers each year.ASH filed a formal legal protest and complaint against a proposal to permit the smoking of marijuana in smoking lounges at the Denver International Airport. ASH was concerned not only that nonsmokers at the airport would be exposed to marijuana smoke in additional to tobacco smoke drifting out of the lounges, that safety would be compromised if pilots and other essential personnel could duck into an airport smoking lounge for a quick hit, and that – if it proved popular – the arrangement could easily spread to other airports. Fortunately, the proposal was not adopted.
OTHER LINKS ABOUT ASH
ASH's Annual Report: http://ash.org/annualreport2009
ASH's Trustees and Sponsors: http://ash.org/ashboard.html
ASH's Goal and Mission: http://ash.org/mission.html
Response to Application for Exempt Status: http://ash.org/response2application
ASH's Audited Financial Report: http://ash.org/auditedreport2009
ASH's Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax: http://ash.org/irsreport2009
Action on Smoking and Health
701 4th St. NW / Washington, DC 20001 / (202) 659-4310
A national nonprofit, scientific and educational organization founded in 1967.
All donations are fully tax deductible.