Where there's smoke, there's money

December 13, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- A Saint Louis University study out this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine confirms conventional wisdom: money talks.

Those Congressmen who received contributions from tobacco industry groups were more likely to vote in favor of pro-tobacco laws, says Douglas A. Luke, Ph.D., director of the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Saint Louis University School of Public Health.

"It confirms what people have known for a while but haven't really examined. Republicans take money from the industry and vote in the industry direction. But being a Democrat doesn't protect you from the influence of the industry."

While Republicans get more money from pro-tobacco interests, Democrats seem to be more influenced by the contributions they receive.

Luke examined pro-tobacco political action committee campaign contributions and votes between 1993 and 2000. He found that 220 Republicans and 140 Democrats legislators accepted more than $6.8 million in contributions. The relationship between contributions and pro-tobacco votes was three times stronger for Democrats than Republicans.

"Although Democrats, on average, vote pro-tobacco much less than Republicans, the percentage increase in pro-tobacco voting for every $1000 contribution for Democrats is nearly three times that of Republicans," Luke says. "The tobacco industry may get more bang for their buck by contributing money to Democrats."

Among Luke's findings:

  • Tobacco political action committees gave an average of $22,000 to each Republican in the Senate and $6,000 to each Democrat.

  • Regardless of whether they received contributions, Republicans voted pro-tobacco much more often - 73 percent of the time - while Democrats voted pro-tobacco only 23 percent of the time.

  • For every $10,000 that Democrats received from pro-tobacco groups, they were 9.8 percent more likely to vote for pro-tobacco policies.

  • For every $10,000 Republicans received, they were 3.5 percent more likely to vote pro-tobacco.

    "The more campaign contributions received by a Congress member, the more likely he or she votes pro-tobacco on tobacco-related bills," Luke says. "This study also shows that political party is the most important predictor of voting behavior on tobacco related bills, with Republicans voting pro-tobacco more often than Democrats."

    The study suggests strategies that tobacco control groups can use when trying to influence Congress in setting health policy, he adds.

    "It is important for tobacco control advocates to work closely with political allies to ensure that tobacco industry political contributions are kept to a minimum," Luke says.

    "In addition, those groups that promote public health policy need to work both sides of the aisle. It's too simplistic to look at Republicans as voting anti-health and to assume Democrats will vote in favor of measures that promote health."
    Saint Louis University School of Public Health is one of only 36 fully accredited schools of public health in the United States and the nation's only School of Public Health sponsored by a Jesuit university. It offers masters degrees (MPH, MHA) and doctoral programs (Ph.D.) in six public health disciplines and joint degrees with the Schools of Allied Health, Business, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Social Service. It is home to seven nationally recognized research centers and laboratories with funding sources that include the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the American Cancer Society, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the World Health Organization.

    Saint Louis University

    Related Tobacco Articles from Brightsurf:

    UC studies tobacco use, cancer connection
    Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have identified new clues into ways tobacco use impacts patients with kidney cancer.

    'Best' hospitals should be required to deliver tobacco treatment
    A UCLA-led report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine exposes what the authors call a weakness in the high-profile 'Best Hospitals Honor Roll' published annually by US News and World Report.

    Small shops, heavy advertisers less likely to ID for tobacco
    'Our findings suggest that certain types of stores -- tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising -- are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID.'

    Youth smoking and vaping: What does it mean for tobacco control
    New research from PIRE/PRC features analysis of in-depth, qualitative interviews with young vapers in California between 15 and 25.

    Truth telling about tobacco and nicotine
    In 'Truth Telling about Tobacco and Nicotine,' PRC researchers explain that, although there is agreement among researchers about evidence that vaping can be less harmful than combustible cigarettes, the tobacco control community remains divided about how to communicate -- or even whether to communicate -- information about the relative risks of tobacco and nicotine products.

    A 'joint' problem: Investigating marijuana and tobacco co-use
    A survey of marijuana and tobacco co-users by Medical University of South Carolina investigators found that co-users with high degree of interrelatedness between their use of the two substances had greater tobacco dependence and smoked more cigarettes per day.

    How genes affect tobacco and alcohol use
    A new study gives insight into the complexity of genetic and environmental factors that compel some of us to drink and smoke more than others.

    Tobacco use linked with higher use of opioids and sedatives
    Tobacco is a known risk factor for the misuse of prescription opioids.

    Changes in flavored tobacco product use among youth tobacco users
    Self-reportedĀ use of flavored tobacco products by middle and high school students decreased from 2014 to 2016 but climbed back up in 2017 in an analysis of national survey data.

    Heated tobacco product claims by tobacco industry scrutinized by UCSF researchers
    Claims by the tobacco industry that heated tobacco products (HTPs) are safer than conventional cigarettes are not supported by the industry's own data and are likely to be misunderstood by consumers, according to research published in a special issue of Tobacco Control.

    Read More: Tobacco News and Tobacco Current Events
  • Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.