Strange bedfellows: the history of collaboration between the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and the tobacco industry

Am J Public Health. 2001 Apr;91(4):598-603. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.4.598.


Objectives: This article examines the historical relationship between the tobacco industry and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, a nonprofit trade association aligned with the food and beverage industry.

Methods: The study analyzed data from Web-based tobacco industry documents, public relations materials, news articles, testimony from public hearings, requests for injunctions, court decisions, economic impact studies, handbooks, and private correspondence.

Results: Tobacco industry documents that became public after various state lawsuits reveal that a long history of collaboration exists between the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and the tobacco industry. For more than 20 years, their joint efforts have focused primarily on the battle to defeat state and local laws that would restrict smoking in public places, particularly in beverage and food service establishments. The resources of the tobacco industry, combined with the association's grassroots mobilization of its membership, have fueled their opposition to many state and local smoke-free restaurant, bar, and workplace laws in Massachusetts.

Conclusions: The universal opposition of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association to smoking bans in food and beverage establishments is a reflection of its historic relationship with the tobacco industry.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Food Industry / history
  • Food Industry / organization & administration
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Massachusetts
  • Restaurants / history*
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking / history
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Societies / history*
  • Societies / organization & administration
  • Tobacco Industry / history*
  • Tobacco Industry / organization & administration