Friday, February 23, 2007

Smoking bans: Good public policy? Or simply a great pharmaceutical marketing plan?

To the average non-smoker as I am, it might appear that the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Non-Smoker's Rights, the American Medical Association, countless research Universities around the country, etc. are lobbying our politicians for smoking bans for health reasons.

However, upon some preliminary investigation it is clear that these NGO's are backed by $200,000,000.00 + from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which has direct ties to the Johnson & Johnson Company, and J & J is the manufacturer of Nicoderm & Nicoderm CQ via its wholly owned subsidiary ALZA. Recently, the buyout of Pfizer means J & J profits even more from the passage of smoking bans thru additional sales of Nicotrol and the new smoking cessation drug Chantix.

The data supplied to these NGO's and subsequently our politicians should be viewed as highly dubious at best, since it comes from the largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical nicotine products which benefits by selling their alternative nicotine products like Nicoderm, Nicoderm CQ, Nicotrol, etc. when tobacco nicotine use is prohibited via smoking bans.

In fact according to this industry watchdog pharmaceutical nicotine product sales is a $500,000,000.00+ annual business almost exclusively owned by the Johnson & Johnson conglomerate, of which RWJF is an entity and single largest shareholder of J & J stock, with a $5.4 billion dollar holding.

For whatever reason our local lawmakers seem to ignore the conflict of interest, if they know about it at all. I am curious if some of these local lawmakers receive campaign support from any or all of these special interests........Are local media outlets, or attorneys general interested in investigating? We'll see.

Here are some links to financial grants from the Nicoderm people at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to:

Recipient: American Medical Assoc. $88,000,000.00

Recipient: American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association $99,000,000.00

Recipient: numerous research universities around the country

RWJF ties to the Johnson & Johnson Company:

ALZA is the company which manufactures Nicoderm & Nicoderm CQ for GSK:

ALZA is owned by Johnson & Johnson company

Why would a pharmaceutical company fund smoking bans?

Government air quality testing of secondhand smoke (is secondhand smoke really harmful?):

The American Cancer Society air quality testing proves secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times safer than OSHA indoor air quality regulations for secondhand smoke:

In this special report out of Washington DC by the Center for Public Integrity, we've found an interesting bit of information:

...the pharmaceutical industry has mounted a sophisticated grassroots campaign to build support for its position on key issues that affect its bottom line. The industry has funded various groups to champion its positions, sponsored studies tilted to the industry and hired public relations firms to spearhead campaigns to soften up public opinion and government policies....

Update: Here are a number of grants by Nicoderm financed Robert Wood Johnson Foundation used to influence government policymakers and lawmakers.......and as you guessed it, that lobbying is designed to eliminate tobacco nicotine use.......while increasing pharmaceutical nicotine use......a public policy also known as smoking bans.

Update: This posting can also be found at the Heartland Institute.

Meanwhile science and air quality testing prove that the secondhand smoke hype has been greatly exaggerated: