The tobacco industry's political efforts to derail the EPA report on ETS

Am J Prev Med. 2004 Feb;26(2):167-77. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2003.10.015.


Previously secret tobacco industry documents detailed a multifaceted approach of political strategies aimed to derail the 1993 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) risk assessment on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). These pervasive strategies included the following: (1) lobbying the first Bush Administration to approve an executive order that would impose new risk assessment standards for federal agencies, thus delaying the release of the EPA report; (2) having the first Bush Administration transfer jurisdiction over ETS from the EPA to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), thus obviating the need for the release of the EPA report; and (3) applying enormous political pressure directly by alleging improper procedure and policy at EPA. Although some of the attempted strategies failed, the political pressure from Congressman Thomas Bliley (R-VA) was a success. This is the first report showing how a single member of Congress in conjunction with his staff, tobacco industry attorneys, and executives worked very aggressively to do the tobacco industry's bidding. These tactics successfully delayed the EPA risk assessment and placed a cloud over its validity that was not fully vindicated until December 2002 when the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the tobacco industry's suit against the EPA. The documents show that the industry will expend whatever effort is necessary to protect itself from public health policy that would adversely affect consumption of cigarettes and, therefore, profit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Policy Making*
  • Politics*
  • Public Policy*
  • Risk Assessment / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Risk Assessment / standards
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Industry / organization & administration*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution