Tobacco Education Center

Industry Attitudes Toward Nonsmokers' Rights Activists (2000)

Date: Monday, March 6, 2000 11:15:52 AM

Introduction -

In 1985 a firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts called "Social Systems Analysts" conducted interviews and did research on the nonsmokers' rights movement in the U.S. for RJ Reynolds. The firm produced a 74-page report titled "Anti-Smoking: The Organized Movement and Individual Orientation" which you can find at the RJR site by putting "Social Systems Analysts" or "Bialick" in the top field. The site address is I recommend you download the document as a *.pdf and read it -- it provides a brief historical account of the movement. The researchers say they gathered the initial information in Boston.

Part one of the document discusses the history of the nonsmokers' rights movement and theories why the movement blossomed starting in the early 60's. Part two discusses how the general public viewed "anti-smokers."

I read part one last night. All notes (which are just intended to encourage you to read the whole document) are from the text itself, and NOT my views.

Pete Bialick, GASP of Colorado

Directory to sections on this page -

Nonsmokers' Rights Activists, Part I

The author looks at the historical opposition to smoking from as early as 1400 with the discovery of America and use by Native Americans. He concludes: "We found historical evidence to suggest that anti-smoking sentiment is related to certain social process... it is cyclical and tends not to appear during periods of great social stability or when nations are drawn together by a common purpose, such as a war." The Author indicates that the activities of the numerous groups peaked when social revolt peeked by 1980.

Names, groups, years mentioned (in historical review)

1967: Professor John Banzhaff of ASH and effort to approach issue through litigation.

1970: Clara Gouin, who founded the first GASP group in MD. Her father died of lung cancer and emphysema. The group tried to get established groups to endorse goals but was not successful, says the author. The author theorizes this was probably due to fear endorsing a more militant approach and fear of losing donors.

1971: Helen Story, who founded the second group in Berkeley due to problems with smoking in classrooms.

1972: David Wilson -- founded MASH an affiliate of ASH. Professor of MIT who was allergic to smoke and had problems with smoking in the classroom.

1972 Surgeon General report was also a major breakthrough because it discussed danger of secondhand smoke and danger of smoking to the unborn child.

ANSR, MN and it's successful efforts statewide due to lack of opposition by industry and restaurant groups.

Says ASH lost a lot of affiliates (which then started their own GASP groups) because the group was highly centralized and prohibited affiliates from lobbying. The author believes ASH used those affiliates as a way to raise money for their Washington efforts.

Indicates that at one point there were 75 GASP type groups with various acronyms. Most of the groups were urban-suburban and initially dominated by white males. As they became less militant, women took over more leadership roles.

The formation of California GASP and move toward "quasi-establishment" or a less militant stance after two ballot failures. Group changed its name to Californians for Nonsmokers Rights (later to become ANR). Paul Loveday is mentioned.

This group helped influence the creation of new groups like GASP of Colorado by Pete Bialick in 1977.

Regina Carlson, New Jersey GASP, helped centralize the movement there.

1981 MA GASP suit against BAY Transit authority for not enforcing smoking restrictions.

Mentions Joseph Califano.

Mentions John Nevars -- a San Diego anesthesiologist who became a "local hero" for his work. His wife had chronitc bronchitis.

1982: Mentions Judith Arrants -- she had started a Charleston SC GASP which dissolved. The American Lung Assn resurrected it (the first establishment group to do so according to the author)


The author divides up groups into three categories: quasi-establishment, quasi-militant, and leader-dependent. The author believes that members of these groups fall into two classifications: activists (go to meetings, take actions) and donor members who aren't as active.

Quasi-establishment were defined as groups that have merged with, affiliated themselves with, or work with the more established groups like the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, or the American Heart Assn. Examples cited: ANSR in MN, MA GASP, San Gabriel Pomona Valley GASP, Citizens for Clean Indoor Air in Kansas City MO, and Texas Clean Indoor Air Assn in Dallas.

Quasi-Militant groups were defined as more vocal, using guerilla tactics, showing up at sporting events sponsored by Virginia Slims, etc. Examples cited: Miami and Atlanta GASP.

Leadership dependent groups were defined as groups who took most of their direction from the leader of the group. Examples cited: NJ GASP, Arizonans Concerned About Smoking.

The author also found that most "anti-smokers" would rather avoid than confront.

Nonsmokers' Rights Activists, Part II

Date: Thursday, March 9, 2000 12:08:42 PM

Introduction -

In 1985 a firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts called "Social Systems Analysts" conducted interviews and did research on the nonsmokers' rights movement in the U.S. for RJ Reynolds. The firm produced a 74-page report titled "Anti-Smoking: The Organized Movement and Individual Orientation" which you can find at the RJR site by putting "Social Systems Analysts" or "Bialick" in the top field. The site address is

Part 1 (above) dealt with a historical review of the movement until 1985 and the author's perceptions of the groups and why they came about.

Part 2 deals with whether the general public has the same views and concerns about smoking as the nonsmokers' rights groups.

This section is much more difficult to read than the first section and contains graphs that are hard to read. However, there are some interesting findings and it is my belief that these kinds of polls are the type of polls that have lead the industry toward playing the "accommodation" card (another smokescreen). For instance, this poll indicates that a number of "anti-smokers" (36%) have a soft-spot for smokers (feel sorry for them) and think they should have a place to smoke.

The researchers polled 182 "anti-smokers" and about 140 smokers.

They chose Boston and Minneapolis for their well-developed anti-smoking movements, Los Angeles and Atlanta for being mid-level, and Kansas City and Dallas for their "primitive activism." They recruited people through newspaper ads and through temporary employment services. Opposition to smoking was highest (in order from high to low) in Boston, LA, Dallas, Atlanta, Kansas, Minneapolis. The level of tolerance for smoking was (in order from high to low): Kansas City, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, LA, Boston. Opposition tended to be higher in places that had active groups.

The authors state that their goal is to study the dynamics and establish approaches to neutralize "anti-smokers." Specific suggestions aren't made in general in their report, but one could take the report and data and use it as a tool to establish some of those approaches.

The reactions of most people exposed to smoke: tension, anger, depression.

The authors point out that most of the people would approach smokers about smoking but wouldn't do the same thing about litterers.

OVERALL they found:
"Our findings clearly indicate that opposition to smoking is now the norm in the society."

Status and opposition:

Sex: Women tend to be more opposed to smoking than males.
Education: The higher the education, the higher the opposition.
Income: The lower the income, the higher the opposition, however there was no significant difference where there's a family income.
Age, occupation, or marital status didn't seem to make much of a difference.

Pete's note: In clean indoor air ballot issues in Colorado I have found that higher income neighborhoods are more supportive than lower income neighborhoods when you compare their percentages.

The authors queried people about how they approach smokers and conclude that people who take action on smoking are more inclined to take actions in general.

Smokers feel shame about their habit in general. Other documents talk about ways of reducing this sense of shame.

The only activist to be mentioned in this section is Dick Daynard and his efforts to approach doctors and medical groups about involving patients in liability suits.

Nonsmokers' Rights Activists, Part III



Bates: 50769 3559




Now that I have all the cobwebs removed from my home, I can finally get down to some serious business. It appears everything ran smoothly while I was gone, thanks to Whitey's ability to cover some of my groups activities. The leaders that did get to work with Mike were very pleased with all the info he provided them with. Reality is finally setting in now that I'm back in Colorado. I keep looking out my window in hopes of seeing the mighty blue pacific ocean with some bikini clad women walking around. Now all I see is 2 inches of snow and everyone bundled up as if were cold outside or something. (-8 wind chill factor) And now I have to file the dreaded bi-annual weekly report -- Reality sucks. Actually I'm happy to be back at the helm and getting reaquainted with my group leaders. It sounds like they all took care of their groups without a hitch. I guess that's how the program is suppose to work. Enough procrastinating. On with the details.

ARIZONA, Scottsdale

Chris Hayes has managed to keep very busy making his people work on group projects. They held their Ist Annual Smokers' Rights Ball on October 13 and had over 50 people attend. Chris said everything went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The 3 groups that helped to sponsor this event made $100.00. Not bad for an evenings worth of work. The 3 groups plan on taking some of the money they made and will have a Christmas party on Dec. 8. I plan on attending and congratulating them on a great year.


Barbara Howard reports that her group has spent the last two meetings working on by-laws and will vote on them in Jan. She said they have been averaging 6 attenders at each meeting.


Sandi Campbell has been meeting in coordination with the Glendale group over the last couple of months in hopes of saving her group. She has decided they will try to meet on their own starting in Jan. or Feb. of next year. They are in the process of looking for a more central location to meet. Sandi has asked me if we could help her with a get reaquainted meeting sometime in Feb. We could do the same thing we did for Tucson this past Sept.


Pat Hesse has been very busy trying to get her group back up and going. After our meeting in Sept. where we had 24 attenders, she has tried to get some of the new folks to take on a leadership role. She hasn't had much luck but will continue to move on. She attended a Pima County Health Department meeting 3 weeks ago to learn that they are trying to license vending machines and make then more difficult for juveniles to get to them. It appears this was a preliminary meeting and Pat tells me they will have a public meeting in the future. She will continue to monitor this situation and let me know...When the next meeting will take place. Ernie Hoffman from the TI was present at this meeting and I'm still trying to track him down to get his input. At Pat's October meeting, she had 9 attenders and they wrote thank you notes to the airport manager for placing the smoking sections in reasonable places. They also asked him to keep them apprised of any movement to ban smoking from the airport.


Mike Skelly has held a couple of well attended meetings the last few months averaging 16 attenders. He said he is growing very frustrated with his group because all they want to do is gripe but do nothing about it. He invited some candidates to speak to his group but no one accepted. He said he plans on sticking with the program to try to make it work.


Becky McKoon finally gave up on her group. She resigned as the President because she couldn't deal with a bunch of old people who just wanted to sit around and get drunk. Becky is going to stay active with the Glendale group which meets just a few miles away. It's unfortunate she resigned: because she is a dynamite person. At least she isn't walking away altogether. The new president is Ms. Toni Bent and I will be meeting with her when I visit Az. at the end of next week.


It appears that the city council is trying to ban smoking in all restaurants in town. They are holding a public hearing next Tues., Dec. 4 at 7pm. I have contacted the few folks that we had attend our SRM last Dec. to enlist their help. We only have 5 people in the area that could help out. I spoke with all 5 last night and everyone was interested in making phone calls to city hall and they all said they would try to round up friends and get them to go to the meeting. I've asked 2 of these folks to call with the results of the meeting next tues. night. Maybe I can persuade one of these guys to take an active role in getting a group more organized.


Steve Cronan is alive and well and very thankful of Mike's input during their petition drive against Mayor Pena and their press conference. It appears everything went off without a hitch and the groups got very positive press coverage. Up until a week ago, Steve hadn't heard a word from the Mayor's office as to what, if anything might change. After a month and a half, the Mayor wrote back and said he was going to keep the smoking ban in effect. As I write this report, two things are happening. First, the Mayor has just announced that he will not seek reelection next year. This is good news for smokers. At least they will have a fighting chance to get one of their own elected. Second, Rick Reiter just faxed me a copy of a proposed bill that would allow smoking areas to stay at Stapleton Airport. Councilwoman Cathy Reynolds will introduce it when she gets the votes lined up. I'm not sure what role our group should play in this situation. Rick mentioned that he spoke to Cathy Reynolds on election night and that she thought our smokers were a bit an the fanatical side. Maybe she wasn't that impressed with Cronan's 33 attenders who came to see her speak to the group. I've asked Cronan if there was anything that might have been done to make her think this way but he says no. Steve has mentioned that Phillip Morris has certainly shown an interest in getting involved with his group. They have offered to send a speaker - someone from their sales force - send literature and videos. When Steve didn't respond, someone from ASA sent him a follow-up letter trying to get him to bite. Steve doesn't want to have anything to do with them but if we want to collect data on what it is that PM is offering, then he said we could use his group to collect this information. Steve and People for Smokers' Rights celebrate their third anniversary this coming Dec. 1. They have a meeting planned for that day and I will present the group a plaque for their achievement. Mike was able to get a nice congratulatory letter from Jim Johnston sent off to Steve this week also.

Colorado Springs

Billy Allison is growing leary of his group. It seems like they have 20 attenders at every monthly-meeting but nobody wants to do anything. All they do is bitch. Billy has had it and is planning on stepping down as president at next months meeting. He said he will stay involved but won't do all the work. Billy said if no one is interested in taking over, then he will recommend that those who are interested in doing anything, should meet every couple of months. If I'm in town, I will try to make the meeting.

Grand Junction

This group is going great guns under the direction of Fred Wilson. The group was able to get a smoking room reestablished at the VA Hospital. The smoking room is on the main floor but the group is trying to get them on all floors now. The group is averaging 15-20 attenders at their monthly meetings. They meet at the local Bingo Hall on the 2nd Sat. of every month. After their meetings, they stay and try to recruit new members at the hall. The group held a great American smoke in at different locations in town. They picked up one new member from this. Fred is gung ho and looking forward to taking on more smokers' rights crusades next year.

Ft. Collins-Loveland

Michelle Clausen has stood firm in holding her monthly meetings even though she sometimes only gets 2 or 3 members. They worked on getting signatures to fight Mayor Pena's ban down in Denver and were able to come up with 150 signatures. They sent them off to his office last year.


George Shoemate tells me that the group has gone dormant for the holidays but will be back up and running on the 3rd tues. of Jan.


I spoke to Jerry Lisse for the first time in many months. He said his group is going strong and that he has gotten the local cable tv station to sponsor a one hour talk show on smokers I rights. The program is going to be taped in the next couple of weeks. Jerry asked if we could supply him with some basic facts. I am in the process of getting hold of Maura Payne to give Jerry a briefing.

NEW MEXICO, Albuquerque

Dorothy Jameson is becoming very frustrated with her group. She is getting tired of doing all the work for her group. She has officers but when she assigns them a project, they never do it. Group attendance is dwindling - only 5 in Sept. and Oct. She is hoping to get more at their Dec. meeting. She is talking about rotating meetings with Belen (30 min. away) starting next year. On a more positive note, the groups treasury is at $180.00.


Roy Proctor and his group are still celebrating for helping to keep the FET down to 4 cents. They were excited about collecting over 2,000 signatures and getting them off to their Senator's and Congressman. The group is looking forward to next year where they hope to get a friendly legislator to introduce a bill that would make it a law to provide a smoking area in all public buildings. Roy's chomping at the bit to get started.


Here's a group that seems to have its act together under the direction of George Lee. The group has been very active in writing letters to their elected officials to let them know about their existence. They petitioned the local hospital board to get them to keep one smoking room in the hospital. They were successful and now they are going to try to get a smoking room on each of the floors. The group participated in the Supervisors meeting that banned smoking from the County building. They delivered over 200 signatures against the ban. Even though they weren't successful in stopping it, they have been working on ways to get them to implement a smoking area. They won't give up until they have one. The group is now participating in an adopt a highway program. They have printed business cards for the group and are passing them out all over town. They have even gotten into the xmas spirit by getting cards printed with santa smoking and inviting everyone to their xmas bash in Dec. And to top things off, the group has participated in the last two swap meets and have earned the group $200.00 for their work.