Climate Deniers: Can’t..stop..must..promote..Tobacco..

June 15, 2016

They really can’t help themselves. Promoting death dealing addictive poisons that target the young is in climate denier’s hardwired DNA.
In the inevitable Climate Tribunals, I wonder if Exxon execs will call Tobacco execs as character witnesses?


None of the 108 board members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce came forward to explicitly support the lobbying group’s policies on tobacco and climate change, according to a new report from a group of eight Senate Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The report, which was written by Senator Warren and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, followed on reporting by The New York Times that revealed the chamber’s international campaign against antismoking laws and its efforts to undermine policies aimed at curbing global warming.

“The chamber’s lobbying is at odds with its own public positions,” the report found. It noted that the “organization strongly professes that it is anti-tobacco” and has claimed to support “efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

In a statement, the chamber described the report’s contents as a “partisan line of attack” that was “egregiously false” and recycled “old myths and tired talking points.”

The Times reported that the chamber had focused on antismoking measures advanced by health advocates from Ukraine to Nepal to Australia. The measures targeted by the chamber included restrictions on smoking in public spaces, bans on menthol and slim cigarettes, curbs on tobacco advertising, excise-tax increases and graphic warning labels. Thomas J. Donohue, the head of the chamber, personally lobbied the speaker of the House, the United States trade representative and the Irish prime minister on the tobacco industry’s behalf.

The chamber’s campaign has aroused the ire of the World Health Organization, and it put the four health care companies that serve on the chamber board — Anthem, the Health Care Service Corporation, the Steward Health Care System of Boston and the Indiana University Health system — in an awkward position. CVS Health Corporation quit the chamber over the revelations.

Another report from The Times last year focused on the chamber’s efforts to dismantle President Obama’s climate change regulations. The chamber convened regular meetings of corporate lawyers, coal lobbyists and Republican political strategists more than a year before the regulations were introduced.


From Ukraine to Uruguay, Moldova to the Philippines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its foreign affiliates have become the hammer for the tobacco industry, engaging in a worldwide effort to fight antismoking laws of all kinds, according to interviews with government ministers, lobbyists, lawmakers and public health groups in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States

The U.S. Chamber’s work in support of the tobacco industry in recent years has emerged as a priority at the same time the industry has faced one of the most serious threats in its history. A global treaty, negotiated through the World Health Organization, mandates anti-smoking measures and also seeks to curb the influence of the tobacco industry in policy making. The treaty, which took effect in 2005, has been ratified by 179 countries; holdouts include Cuba, Haiti and the United States.

Facing a wave of new legislation around the world, the tobacco lobby has turned for help to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the weight of American business behind it. While the chamber’s global tobacco lobbying has been largely hidden from public view, its influence has been widely felt.

Letters, emails and other documents from foreign governments, the chamber’s affiliates and antismoking groups, which were reviewed by The New York Times, show how the chamber has embraced the challenge, undertaking a three-pronged strategy in its global campaign to advance the interests of the tobacco industry.

In the capitals of far-flung nations, the chamber lobbies alongside its foreign affiliates to beat back antismoking laws.

Not long ago, newly discovered documents revealed that, way back in the 70s, and even before,  Exxon scientists were studying the potential impacts of fossil fuel burning on global climate.(see video at end of this piece)  Now, a group of Attorneys General is starting to ask why, when they knew the science, Oil giants started paying groups like The American Enterprise Institute, the Heartland Institute, and others, to confuse and deny the facts, and misinform customers and investors.

Having been caught out – the dodge we are now seeing is that denying climate science when you know the truth – is exercising “free speech”. Practically a patriotic duty, fer gosh sakes.

Some friends were doing a little searching in the Tobacco archives for examples of how Tobacco apologists were playing the “our right to free speech” card when caught out lying about what their own scientists knew on the effects of Tobacco products.

Turns out the in 1987, Mobil Oil stood up for Big Tobacco’s right to lie to customers and shareholders about the risks of using, and investing in, their products.

Maybe they were looking forward to a time when they might be in the same hot seat?

Stop Fooling Ca on Medium:

Years ago, state and federal prosecutors proved that tobacco companies lied about the dangerous and addictive nature of cigarettes.Big Oil stood up for Big Tobacco’s “right” to lie

Today, state attorneys general are investigating fossil-fuel companies and asking similar questions as their predecessors: what did oil companies know about the dangerous, climate-altering effects of their products, and what did they do to hide that information from investors, the public and policymakers?

The lawsuits against the tobacco companies produced an archive of more than 14 million industry documents, which are available for free to the public. They paint a damning picture of an industry that employed a small army of lawyers and lobbyists to try to hide the truth from the public — and the parallels to the oil industry are undeniable.

Here, video of Tobacco executives exercising “Free Speech”.

Yes, deniers, mirrors are tough on all of us, eventually.


39 Responses to “Climate Deniers: Can’t..stop..must..promote..Tobacco..”

  1. ubrew12 Says:

    Since both Climate Change and tobacco overwhelmingly target people of color, is it possible that a white-male dominated Chamber of Commerce is really just promoting a kind of ‘back-door genocide’? Certainly, in debates with such people about Climate Change, it takes about 30 seconds for someone to mention that the REAL problem is overpopulation, not CC.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Yes, it is a thirty year plan to kill people of color. Except dying black people use health care dollars that are paid for by white people, so that plan doesn’t make sense. Better to keep arresting them for CIA-provided cocaine and pot possession and taking away their voting rights, wouldn’t you say?

      • ubrew12 Says:

        I meant foreign people of color. Knowing what we know: why promote tobacco and Climate non-action in countries overwhelmingly negatively affected by these issues? Perhaps I shouldn’t say ‘people of color’ since I was once in Russia and it was shameful how Philip Morris, etc, promoted tobacco (they literally had ‘cigarette girls’ walking down the sidewalk). We are on the cusp of a slow-rolling catastrophe that will kill millions of people, none of whom are anybody the members of the Chamber of Congress personally know. I no longer think ‘fossil-profits’ is a sufficient explanation for what is going on. Something sadder and more diabolical is happening. The planet is definitely overpopulated. What if a scheme to let ‘the devil take the hindmost’ is underway?

    • Tom Bates Says:

      Since when did this situation become racism? If you really believe this than you are the problem. Climate change is not the issue and never has been, the issue is whether man is warming the world by releasing CO2. The jury has come in with a verdict. Yes man is warming the world with his CO2 release. all 0.08F per theh one and only study of actual forcing. As to smoking it does not claim the lives of most smokers, only about 10 percent come down with anything and with improvement in treatment only about 1 percent die from tobacco related disease per the CDC statistics. Most smokers in the world are in Asia, in the US the largest number of smokers are white. The tax folks,just like with climate, are busy going after demon tobacco to increase their take, something they did with demon alcohol which actually kills a lot more people than tobacco every has.

      • If you think climate change is not the issue, why are you blowing smoke about it? You should be blowing smoke about smoking.

      • otter17 Says:

        “Climate change is not the issue and never has been, the issue is whether man is warming the world by releasing CO2. ”

        Oh really, please tell all those blogs and politicians that claim the Earth is not warming to knock it off, then. You folks can’t keep your denial stories straight.

        “Yes man is warming the world with his CO2 release. all 0.08F per theh one and only study of actual forcing. ”

        Source? Title and main author would suffice.

        And you seem to be right, Peter. It is amazing the correlation between climate denial and the defense of tobacco. They can’t seem to help themselves. Is this an ideological thing or where did this come from? Was there some TEA party memo or something back when that tobacco front group was planning that movement?

        And Mr. Bates… here are some easy to find fast facts that would dispute your claim that “alcohol kills a lot more people than tobacco every [sic] has”. It isn’t all sunshine and roses for the folks that don’t die, either. Search “CDC Fast Facts Smoking and Tobacco Use”.

        “Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.”
        “For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.”
        “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.”

        For such a product that puts such a burden on society, why shouldn’t it be taxed? If not taxed, then what accounts for the externalities?

      • Tom,

        You *still* haven’t retracted this false claim you made about NASA/GISS.

        …and only shows warming after that when they plug 66 percent of the data with estimates which are higher than the actual temperatures they replace.

        I proved you wrong by showing that the NASA warming trend can easily be replicated with raw data (no adjustments/estimates/etc.) Link here:

        When you continued to post here without retracting that completely false claim, I followed up:

        You also ignored that second request to retract your claim.

        You then ignored a third request.

        So I’m following up with a fourth request.

        When will you *finally* admit that you were wrong about how NASA processes temperature data? Or are so morally bankrupt that you are incapable of admitting that you were wrong?

        As long as you keep posting here, I’m going to keep pinging on you about this until you acknowledge that you were wrong.

      • Lionel Smith Says:

        Bates, how one person can have such a skewed view of things is a clear case of you being duped by the media and tobacco propagands.

        Here is a corrective for you. Do read the book.

        • Thanks for link – I know Bob, but hadn’t run across that video, have read and reviewed the book, but still learned a few new things from that and some of the other Proctor videos.

          • Lionel Smith Says:

            Your welcome John. It was from you I learned of Proctor’s book and it was a revelation in part (I have a copy) but part fitted with my choice to smoke non-filtered cigarettes, but fewer of them than colleagues smoking those with ‘spats’ as we used to say in the UK. I was right to be suspicious of those artefacts of marketing.

            Others have now read my copy with mixed results but then nicotine is addictive. I had a forced break from them during recovery from that heart attack and never went back to them.

            Gingerbaker should kick the habit too, and not the messenger advising him to do so.

    • Total non-sequitur. Comparing Mann made nonsense as beneficial and his splicing job, self invented statistics as science is shameless and unethical perversion of idea of what science is all about. -Obama and IPCC made Mann’s charade into a religion already, but that was not enough to sate M. Mann endless vanity. -So he has attempted to codify is misbegotten farce by launching a lawsuit against Mark Steyn for the crime of offending a Nobel prize laureate which Mann really believes is due to him for salving Humanity from CO2 excess oblivion. -It clearly is an attempt at not only ignoring the first amendment, but subverting constitution, all in the name of his overblown ego. -It is an analog to the puffer fish carrying poison throughout its body.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    “The measures targeted by the chamber included restrictions on smoking in public spaces, bans on menthol and slim cigarettes, curbs on tobacco advertising, excise-tax increases and graphic warning labels.”

    God forbid we might discuss the topic of whether the Chamber might actually be working against ordinances and legislation that deserve to be killed?

    In my town, well-meaning people have decided that they have the moral and legal right to ban smoking outdoors on the pedestrian mall downtown. Despite the fact that there is not a shred of evidence which suggests that outdoor smoking has any ill effects at all, let alone those which are even comparable to other pollution sources which are perfectly legal but not addressed, like engine and restaurant fan exhaust. Or perfume. Or the stench of moral smugness that wafts heavenward from the antismoking brigade.

    As a smoker, I am supposed to have rights , too, and I do not like them taken away from me by the tyranny of mob rule. Bans on menthol and slim cigarettes? Are you kidding me? Here are the Purity Police again, taking away your choices of perfectly legal products for the simple reason that they don’t like them and, well, they CAN. Perhaps mint Oreos are next, or thin-sliced bacon?

    Hey – here is a concept: if you don’t think something is healthy enough for you and your kids, teach them not to use it. And leave me alone to enjoy my rights which don’t harm you personally. I don’t come into your home and insist you let me smoke. So don’t tell me what I can do in a outdoor public space.

    • “God forbid we might discuss the topic of whether the Chamber might actually be working against ordinances and legislation that deserve to be killed? ”

      God forbid that we should let the facts stand in the way of a good bit of polemic. The legislation that the Chamber of Commerce and the tobacco industry is fighting does not concern outdoor smoking. It almost all involves the use of health warnings on packaging, and the removal of promotional images. Where these measures have been introduced, in places like Australia, smoking rates have fallen significantly, especially among the young. Which is precisely why the tobacco lobby is so against them. If they were not effective, why would they care?

      Giving people the facts about what smoking does to human health is not an abuse of freedom. Advertising and glamorizing the inhalation of known carcinogens most certainly is.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “God forbid that we should let the facts stand in the way of a good bit of polemic. The legislation that the Chamber of Commerce and the tobacco industry is fighting does not concern outdoor smoking.”

        Perhaps I can be excused for my mistake, as the text of this article says:

        “The measures targeted by the chamber included restrictions on smoking in public spaces…” and in my town “public spaces” includes our outdoor pedestrian mall?

        Look, I am no fan of the Chamber of Commerce. But not all anti-smoking ordinances are well-conceived.

      • So this is no longer about M.Mann and his labor, but the Mann inspired clique diversion and his deniers. -What a nice job, linking Mann made hockey stick with supreme Holocaust realty and making himself a martyr and a victim. -The only other ones employing that tactics present themselves as the ‘religion of peace’ the world does not understand and the infidels must be brought to heel or be smitten above their necks.
        Wherever the scary global warming comes from, I welcome every bit of it, right along with more CO2, since only 400PPM (0.04%) is well below optimum for all green plants and people to live and thrive. The canned language of M. Mann demagoguery is trying to hide reality of Mann made hysteria.

        -Deniers and deplorables of USA just kicked wooden idols off Michael Man altar.

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      As a smoker, I am supposed to have rights , too, and I do not like them taken away from me by the tyranny of mob rule.

      People may have freedom and ‘rights’ as you put it but with that comes responsibility, responsibility to not pollute the air others may breath.

      Second hand smoke is known to cause breathing difficulties in the vulnerable and young, e.g. children.

      I was a smoker for some years but back 16 years I had one myocardial infarction and had to be resuscitated in A&E. Whilst in intensive care, and within 24 hours I had another attack and count myself very lucky to have come back from that. It isn’t only lung cancer that is a problem it is the sludge that builds up in arteries. I survived but have been left with long term life changing chronic conditions.

      When out and about, walking with difficult, I have to try to avoid the air downwind of smokers for I suffer adverse effects.

      How do you know the health status of those near you when you smoke?

      So take heed and reconsider you life style, and sense of ‘rights’.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Second-hand smoke has been shown to have small health effects on family members with long-term INDOOR exposure.

        There is not a shred of evidence that you would be harmed from someone smoking in your vicinity in an outdoor setting. None at all.

        So, move away from me if you must. Just know that when you do, you may well be moving closer to that auto and bus exhaust you were exposed to just to get within a mile of the pedestrian mall. Closer to someone who put on way too much cologne, closer to the thirty or so restaurant exhaust fans spewing out high-temperature oil fumes every few blocks.

        it’s a heady mixture you can use as a background intoxicant as you contemplate how you just blithely advocated taking away one of my civil liberties based on your unfounded fears.

        • Lionel Smith Says:

          There is not a shred of evidence that you would be harmed from someone smoking in your vicinity in an outdoor setting. None at all.

          The evidence hits me in the face every time I mistakenly walk into the air downwind of a smoker.

          Second hand smoke, or passive smoking as it is otherwise called has been shown to be dangerous e.g. one source:

          Is passive smoking harmful?

          it’s a heady mixture you can use as a background intoxicant as you contemplate how you just blithely advocated taking away one of my civil liberties based on your unfounded fears.

          That is crass. Were you born an &r$€ or did you take a correspondence course?

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            I took a course. I’m actually a sweet fellow.

            Meanwhile, back at the corral for the third time – the fact that you can SMELL a cigarette doesn’t mean that it is doing you harm. Or that people should have the right to criminalize smells they don’t like.

            Please stop sending me off to read Readers-Digest condensed versions of factoids *about indoor smoking* and trying to pass them off as trenchant to the question of outdoor smoking, your fears, and your righteous entitlement to taking away my rights.

            Your indictment of my crassness is elevating my stress levels, which is dangerous to my cardiac health:


            But, please continue…

  3. Tom Bates Says:

    I would ask you to consider something far more important that climate change or tobacco or alcohol. That is Liberty. Liberty allows you to exist, it allows you to have the space to find happiness, it allows your family and you to thrive. If liberty goes than we become North Korea and all that it implies.

    The people who advocate controls over you may mean well, or they may not. They have one thing in common, they believe they have the right and the duty to control you forever, that is not liberty.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Tom – how do you see your liberty being restricted by those of us who want to stop burning carbon fuels?

      • otter17 Says:

        He wants to continue to able to screw over other people’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His need to use specific forms of energy and modify the atmosphere with additional heat trapping gas outweighs the combined rights of whole generations for the next several centuries or so.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      “Liberty allows you to exist” How did we get here, then? The Liberty you speak of is the experience of NOBODY before around 1700 (unless you’re a descendant of Marie Antoinette). What allows you to exist is food, shelter, and AIR (not being underwater). To 99% of humanity living in the 18th century, LIBERTY is a rare privilege. WE EXIST because they managed WITHOUT IT. CC threatens something FAR MORE FUNDAMENTAL than liberty. Food, living space, a natural environment in which to EXPRESS LIBERTY.

      John Wayne would be flabbergasted by your belief system. Thanks to you, the West he loved so much is about to dry up and BLOW AWAY.

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      If liberty goes than we become North Korea and all that it implies.

      What an asinine conclusion. On liberty consider that of others, to breath fresh untainted air. See my nearby response to Gingerbaker.

      Your postings are crocks all the way down and I am quite at liberty to say so.

    • miffedmax Says:

      Right now, the odds are that the power I’m using to run my computer and type my response is generated by wind.

      I can feel the heavy hand of oppression.

      Nope, sorry. It was the cat.

  4. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Those that willfully harm others — especially for financial gain — deserve no mercy.

  5. Previously enacted trade pacts have elevated commerce above some national laws, and from what I’ve read it looks like the TPP is another step in that direction. Free trade pacts are one thing. Free trade pacts that let companies quash any and all restrictions, including laws that protect the health of citizens and the environment, are quite another.

  6. redskylite Says:

    What really sickens me about ExxonMobil, is that they paint themselves as a very straightforward enterprise. They proudly hold ISO accreditation in various disciplines, suggesting they are very responsible. Examples ISO9001 (which includes audit-ability/accountability),ISO26000 social responsibility/ethics and ISO 50001 (energy/environmental sustainability).

    Yet when asked to present documents to Federal Court claim the right to “FREE SPEECH”. they are fully accredited what have they got to hide/be ashamed of ? Just like the tobacco giants, they must know that the Free Speech ticket will not work, they’re just stalling for time.

    Free Speech comes with perimeters and boundaries and one is public health and safety, they also must know that. In this context “Public” extends across the planet and to other species too.

    “Exxon Mobil Corp asked a federal court on Wednesday to throw out a subpoena that would force the oil company to hand over decades of documents as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into whether it misled investors about climate change risks.

    In its filing in a U.S. district court, Exxon said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey overreached with her April subpoena and that it violated constitutional amendments on FREE SPEECH, unreasonable search and seizure and equal protection.”

  7. mbrysonb Says:

    It’s amazing how ‘liberty’ and ‘doing whatever I and people like me want to do, regardless of the impact on anyone else’ get mixed-up by people like Tom. Freedom is an abstraction, and it’s valueless without a life worth living. But its concrete instantiation, for them, is purely commercial and concerned only with the freedom of those who have money and power today and want to keep both. So being free to sell menthol cigarettes (particularly popular among young people) is a fundamental right, that mustn’t be abridged lest we become North Korea… and so is the freedom of wealthy companies to lie to the public (and, better yet, to pay professional liars who can do the job at arm’s length) about the hazards their products pose.
    Three members of my family have died of lung cancer– my grandfather, great aunt, and mother-in-law. All were lifetime smokers. Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer in Canada (where I’ve worked for years on a health-technology assessment committee reviewing new cancer drugs and making recommendations on their adoption), and most cases are due to smoking. And, as noted above, focusing on lung cancer ignores COPD, heart attacks and other health impacts of tobacco use.
    But all this is as dust in the wind compared to the multiple threats posed by climate change. The Pentagon is studying and gaming the military risks: humans, of course, don’t just sit and starve when crops fail–if they have the means, they go to war. Sea level rise threatens coastal cities (a very popular location for many)– the faster it comes, the greater the losses will be, but the very best scenario still indicates a long and expensive retreat.
    But Exxon-Mobil’s right to sell their products is more important than the rights of young people and coming generations to inherit a stable, functioning planet? This position is morally bankrupt– which is why its faithful supporters (like the defenders of tobacco’s right to advertise and generally be treated as if their products had no serious downside and reducing the attraction of their products is an unjustifiable in the holy ‘market’) reliably combine denial of the risks with their libertarian fantasies. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing…

    • otter17 Says:

      “I have the right to trample on everybody else’s rights.”

      It is a strange thing, but I find libertarians in general to be agreeable people. There seems to be this strand of folks, though, that take it to mean as the quote above puts it.

  8. I’d suggest avoiding complicated conspiracy theories in favor of the simple history and $, starting no later than ~1998:

    Thomas Donohue Sells US Chamber Of Commerce To Big Tobacco

    Of course, the invocation of liberty means the liberty of tobacco companies to kill adolescents slowly, since for most people nicotine addiction is only possible during adolescent brain development,* roughly ages 12-24, with usual human variation.
    That liberty is the key basis of the business. Note that age 21 is a bit arbitrary, whereas the physiology of addiction is real.

    * For some reason, very few adults seem to know this, outside of folks in or near the relevant parts of medical research, where it is quite well documented.

  9. redskylite Says:

    Deniers always emphasize what a boon fossil burning has been to mankind’s progress and materials, and I have absolutely no dispute to that. Oil and coal has been the backbone of our revolution and financial systems for a couple of centuries now. However ExxonMobil, Peacock and others have wanted to perpetuate the convenient cash cow that they have created, when new safer, cleaner energy technologies are emerging and the detrimental effects of Greenhouse gas emissions are by now extremely well known. They claim “Free Speech” to cover up their deliberate withholding of information and warnings to shareholders (and mankind).

    Unfortunately they are not simply copying the tobacco industry’s denial tactics, they are writing a new rule-book.

    “What does tomorrow hold? It’s hard to tell. The targets of Rep. Smith’s investigation declined to respond to his requests citing his lack of jurisdiction and the violation of our First Amendment rights. But Rep. Smith has demonstrated his willingness to use the subpoena power of his office, so it is likely that we have not reached the end of this particular yellow brick road.

    We often look to the parallels with the tobacco industry’s tactics to give us some insights into what to expect next from the fossil fuel industry. What we are learning now is that, while there are similarities, the fossil fuel industry is writing a whole new playbook.

    And it is not likely to end with the Wizard sending us safely into the future in a low carbon hot-air balloon.”

  10. For folks who want to know more about the science, I recommend:

    Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products (2015), National Academies’ Institute of Medicine.
    Search for: brain development in the full PDF there. For example:

    Gets 20 hits, most related to adolescent brain development, such as:
    p.24 “Brain development continues until about age 25. While the development
    of some cognitive abilities is achieved by age 16, the parts of the brain
    most responsible for decision making, impulse control, sensation seeking,
    future perspective taking, and peer susceptibility and conformity continue
    to develop and change through young adulthood. Adolescent brains are
    uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine and nicotine addiction.”

    p.99 “There may also be sex differences in the
    effects of nicotine withdrawal. In animal models, nicotine administration
    in adolescents produces changes in brain circuitry, cell damage, and loss
    related to learning and memory, but these effects may be greater in the
    female hippocampus than in the male (Slotkin, 2002).”

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