Objectives: This study examined the tobacco industry's tactics in the political, grassroots, and media arenas in attempting to subvert California's smoke-free bar law, and the efforts of health advocates to uphold and promote the law by using the same 3 channels.
Methods: Interviews with key informants involved in the development and implementation of the smoke-free bar law were conducted. Information was gathered from bill analyses, internal memoranda, tobacco industry documents, media articles, and press releases.
Results: The tobacco industry worked both inside the legislature and through a public relations campaign to attempt to delay implementation of the law and to encourage noncompliance once the law was in effect. Health groups were able to uphold the law by framing the law as a health and worker safety issue. The health groups were less successful in pressing the state to implement the law.
Conclusions: It is possible to enact and defend smoke-free bar laws, but doing so requires a substantial and sustained commitment by health advocates. The tobacco industry will fight this latest generation of clean indoor air laws even more aggressively than general workplace laws.