RJR isn’t bragging about its single-handed backing of effort to overturn SF tobacco flavor ban

April 12, 2018

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Big Tobacco usually brags about all their civic activities as part of their “corporate social responsibility” campaigns designed to convince  the public and public policymakers what great citizens they are

But that’s not the case for RJ Reynolds Tobacco, who so far has single-handedly financed the referendum – Proposition E on the June ballot -- to overturn San Francisco’s prohibition on flavored tobacco products (to the tune of $3.5 million so far).   They certainly don’t brag about it on their internet ads like the ones below.

If you click on “Who funded this ad” and scroll way to the bottom of the page, you find that RJR provided “major funding” for a group of concerned citizens who are opposing this law that will likely cut RJR profits because they sell so many menthol cigarettes to African Americans, kids, and others. 

Scroll way down the page and you find:

“Major funding” is the legally required language – San Francisco requires listing of the top three funders in political ads.  In this case, even that is misleading: It should say “only.”

And the same statement is in tiny type at the bottom of the No on E website.

I’ve got to give RJ Reynolds credit for being thorough.  When I looked at the San Francisco Chronicle editorial urging a “yes” vote on Proposition E (to implement the flavor ban), a “no” ad popped up right next to the editorial. (The "no" ad seemed gone when I checked on April 13.)

You can see the Yes on E website here.  Their three big contributors are Michael Bloomberg, the American Cancer Society, and the Ca

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