The Political Evolution of Anti-Smoking Legislation
Despite the known dangers of tobacco use and environmental tobacco smoke, only a few states have enacted comprehensive clean-indoor-air laws that restrict smoking in public places. Using a case study methodology, the authors examined the political evolution of tobacco control initiatives in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Arizona. They conclude that the key factors explaining the enactment of tobacco-control legislation are organized anti-smoking coalitions and the long-term commitment of key legislators to supporting the legislation. These factors alone do not guarantee the enactment of anti-smoking legislation, but such legislation is unlikely to be enacted absent either factor. The results suggest that the active involvement of the state's executive branch and strong local ordinances are important factors. How the issue is framed is another important component of legislative outcome. While the legislative outcome in any state is not directly a function of which side controls the debate, it appears that anti-smoking forces fare better when public-health issues dominate and that the tobacco industry benefits when personal freedoms arguments are predominant.