TOBACCO: Appeals Court Ruling Affirms UCSF Anti-Smoking Advocacy
The U.S. Court of Appeals last Thursday ruled that it is not a misuse of taxpayer money for a University of California professor to use state resources to campaign against smoking, the AP/Ventura County Star reports. Californians for Scientific Integrity sued UC-San Francisco over an antitobacco campaign spearheaded by Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at UCSF. Californians for Scientific Integrity, an organization allied with the tobacco industry, alleged that it was a misuse of taxpayer money for Glantz to campaign from his UC position. The court rejected the suit, arguing that because the California Legislature has broadly directed the state to "play a leading role in promoting a smoke-free society by the year 2000," Glantz has a right to use state funds for his antitobacco campaign. "They were attempting to intimidate me and the university. The university stood up to the thugs in cigarette companies again and won again," Glantz said (Koehler, 7/12). The three-judge panel also ruled that Glantz' campaign is protected by the First Amendment, which allows government officials to express their opinions about public issues (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/12).
Decline in Teen Smoking
In other antitobacco news, an editorial in the San Jose Mercury News criticizes Gov. Gray Davis' (D) statement that he was "proud" to announce the latest smoking statistics for California. Between 1998 and 1999, smoking among California youths decreased by 35%. But the editorial says that Davis should not take credit for the accomplishment because he "has not pushed for antitobacco programs." In addition, as an American Heart Association ad in the New York Times this week states, Davis has "refused to earmark tobacco settlement funds for anti-smoking campaigns," the editorial notes. Instead, praise should be extended to "voters who raised tobacco taxes, lawmakers who passed smoking bans, advocacy groups that pushed the message that smoking is a serious health threat -- and kids themselves, who are making better choices" (7/14).