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Tobacco Corporations Buy Political Influence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Arendt

Office: 202-659-4310

Email: arendtm@ash.org

TOBACCO CORPORATIONS BUY POLITICAL INFLUENCE

Big Tobacco Contributes Over $1.6 Million Annually to Federal Candidates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 8, 2014 – The tobacco industry has always been a major player in congressional campaigns, but Action on Smoking and Health’s 2014 Campaign Contribution Map shows just how pervasive tobacco money is in politics. Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), an organization devoted to the fight against the domestic and global tobacco epidemic, produced the map, which allows you to click on your home district and see how much money your Member of Congress and Senators have accepted this election cycle.

Tobacco corporations contribute over $1.6 million annually to federal candidates. This money buys the tobacco industry access to government officials and influence over laws. This is a serious problem because there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests. The World Health Organization has discussed tobacco industry interference in the past. “Tobacco use is unlike other threats to global health. Infectious diseases do not employ multinational public relations firms. There are no front groups to promote the spread of cholera. Mosquitoes have no lobbyists.”

This is a problem across political parties and across states. Politicians on both sides of the aisle accept tobacco industry campaign contributions, and 46 states have federal candidates who accepted campaign funds from the tobacco industry in the 2013-2014 election cycle. Dr. Alfred Munzer, Chairman of the Board of ASH said, “Industries that threaten public health should not control public health policy. No politician should owe favors to tobacco corporations.”

The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first global treaty on public health, calls for governments to limit industry interference in public health policy. The guidelines for implementing FCTC Article 5.3 specifically suggest “prohibiting tobacco industry contributions to political parties, candidates, or campaigns.”

“Even though the United States has not yet ratified the FCTC, ASH encourages politicians to voluntarily comply with the treaty’s life-saving guidelines. Refusing tobacco industry campaign contributions is one very important step that politicians can take in the fight against tobacco,” said ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber.

See which politicians have already taken this essential step and which politicians are still accepting campaign financing from the tobacco industry on ASH’s 2014 Campaign Contribution Map, available online today:

http://ash.org/map/

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ACTION ON SMOKING AND HEALTH
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at www.ash.org.

Follow us on Twitter @ASHOrg and Facebook www.Facebook.com/ASHglobalAction

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