Building Alliances in Unlikely Places: Progressive Allies and the Tobacco Institute’s Coalition Strategy on Cigarette Excise Taxes (2009)

Authors: Richard B Campbell and Edith D Balbach

Abstract

The tobacco industry often utilizes third parties to advance its policy agenda. One such utilization occurred when the industry identified organized labor and progressive groups as potential allies whose advocacy could undermine public support for excise tax increases. To attract such collaboration, the industry framed the issue as one of tax fairness, creating a labor management committee to provide distance from tobacco companies and furthering progressive allies’ interests through financial and logistical support. Internal industry documents indicate that this strategic use of ideas, institutions, and interests facilitated the recruitment of leading progressive organizations as allies. By placing excise taxes within a strategic policy nexus that promotes mutual public interest goals, public health advocates may use a similar strategy in forging their own excise tax coalitions.

Read more: American Journal of Public Health