Manufacturing credibility: the National Energy Management Institute and the Tobacco Institute's strategy for indoor air quality

Am J Public Health. 2011 Mar;101(3):497-503. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.199695. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


Objectives: We studied tobacco industry efforts during the 1980s and 1990s to promote the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI), a nonprofit organization, as an authority on indoor air quality as part of the industry's strategy to oppose smoke-free worksite policies.

Methods: We analyzed tobacco industry documents, conducted literature searches in Lexis-Nexis for background and historical literature, and reviewed relevant public health and policy literature.

Results: The tobacco industry provided more than US $6 million to NEMI to establish it as an authority on indoor air quality and to work with it to undermine support for smoke-free air policies by promoting ventilation as a solution to indoor air quality problems. Tobacco industry support for NEMI was not publicly disclosed.

Conclusions: NEMI was a valuable ally for the tobacco industry through NEMI's ties to organized labor, its technical background, and its status as a third-party actor. NEMI also helped the industry to portray ventilation to improve overall indoor air quality and smoke-free worksites as an either-or choice; in fact, both can improve worker health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Consultants
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Industry / ethics*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Ventilation*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution