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The movement toward a smoke-free society took a big step forward in the small farming community of Lodi (population 50,000) in California's Central Valley. Armed with the recent US Environmental Protection Agency report that identified secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen,[13] the San Joaquin County Smoking Action Coalition, a group of residents formed to promote smoking ordinances, approached the Lodi City Council in December 1989 to request consideration of a smoking control ordinance. Sandy Stoddard, a coalition member and American Cancer Society (ACS) staff member, had grown up in Lodi and knew three of the five council members personally.[14]


During the spring of 1990, the Lodi City Council formally considered a smoking ordinance. After promoting the ordinance, the community health activists took a back seat as elected officials, particularly Mayor Randy Snider, molded the proposal. On May 16, the city council voted 4-1 in favor of an ordinance prohibiting smoking in almost all indoor public places. (Bars, motel and hotel rooms, retail tobacco stores, private offices, and residences were excluded.) Before the proposal became law, the council was to vote on it again, within one month after the initial vote.

During the intervening three weeks, RJ Reynolds learned of the proposal and sent an Action Alert letter to residents of Lodi, urging them to call their council members and attend the council meeting to voice opposition to the proposal. The names and telephone numbers of council members were included in the letter, as well as a toll-free RJ Reynolds telephone number for anyone with questions.

Meanwhile, in June 1990, a group called Taxpayers United for Freedom (TUFF) was formed in Lodi to oppose the ordinance. TUFF claimed to be a grassroots organization that did not receive support from the tobacco industry. Adam Dados, a spokesperson for the group, said, “We've only received some ashtrays and lighters from the tobacco companies.”[15]

In contrast to the first city council meeting, where little opposition was evident, the June 6, 1990, meeting was a raucous affair with 400 people attending, some hissing and booing during testimony by the ordinance's supporters. Local physicians, ANR, and the local chapters of the ACS and AHA spoke in favor of the ordinance. ANR's executive director, Julia Carol, said after the meeting that she had been to many similar hearings but “none so hostile.”[16] Those who spoke in opposition to the proposal were all local residents. Dados presented petitions with over 3,000 signatures to the council.

Despite efforts by RJ Reynolds and TUFF to organize opposition to the ordinance, the Lodi City Council passed it on second reading by a 4-1 vote. Lodi became the first 100 percent smoke-free city in the United States.

After the vote, Bill Stamos, a Lodi resident, armchair legal scholar, nonsmoker, and opponent of the ordinance, drafted a referendum for TUFF to force a popular vote on the ordinance.[17] Supporters of the referendum had thirty days to gather 2,369 signatures for it; they turned in petitions with 5,051 signatures. The council had two choices: repeal the ordinance or put it on the ballot. They voted to let the people of Lodi decide.


Soon after TUFF submitted the petitions, ordinance supporters formed the Lodi Indoor Clean Air Coalition (LICAC). This group, led by a physician and a retired waitress, was formed without the assistance of any established health organization. On July 10 LICAC held a public meeting; about 175 local residents attended, $2,000 was raised, and volunteers were identified for the campaign. Assuming that TUFF would mount a well-organized campaign, LICAC decided to hire a professional campaign coordinator.

During the initial weeks LICAC mobilized support and asked for contributions from concerned citizens through advertisements in the local newspaper. Most of the larger contributions came from medical professionals. Of the $6,250 in contributions amounting to $100 or more, $3,200 came from individual doctors and medical companies, groups usually hesitant to become involved in local political campaigns.[18] LICAC raised a total of $12,025, almost half of which was in contributions of less than $100.[19]

Independently of LICAC, the local ACS sent out approximately 1,250 letters to patients and volunteers in Lodi urging them to support the referendum on the smoking ordinance.[14] No effort was made by the other local voluntary health agencies (ALA or AHA) to mobilize support for the referendum. The California Medical Association was asked to support LICAC but did not contribute to the campaign.[20]

LILAC's campaign strategy was to discredit the opposition, not by attacking TUFF directly but by indirectly labeling the group as a tobacco industry front.[21] LICAC used newspaper advertisements borrowed from health activists in Fort Collins, Colorado, who had faced a similar campaign in 1984. These advertisements included one portraying a tobacco spokesman waving his cigar, saying, “So long Lodi, it's been good to know you,” as he hopped into his limousine to leave town after the election, his briefcase full of tobacco industry money.

TUFF's advertisements focused on smoking as an issue of rights and freedoms, embedded in the U.S. Constitution. One ad, framed with the American flag, proclaimed, “The smoking ban…is anti-american and in violation of the very precepts of our inalienable rights as Americans.”[15] TUFF also used the specter of severe punishments for ordinance offenders. One cartoon showed two prisoners in a jail cell, one saying, “I'm in here for murder, extortion and grand theft! What did you do?” The other replied, “I lit up a cigarette in Lodi!”[15]

TUFF collected more than $11,439 in monetary contributions from

local individuals, businesses, and fund-raising events.[22] The vast majority of donations were less than $100; the source of these donations was not subject to disclosure, but presumably they came from concerned local residents. Responding to the charge that TUFF was a front for the cigarette companies, Dados said that Philip Morris had contacted him in the early weeks of the campaign to offer support but that nothing ever came of the offer. According to Dados, tobacco industry support would gladly be accepted.[23] In fact, the tobacco industry supported TUFF. TBP Political Consulting in San Francisco, the firm of RJ Reynolds consultant Tim Pueyo, loaned TUFF $1,200.[22] When asked about the San Francisco connection, Dados said Pueyo was just a friend. Rudy Cole of the tobacco industry's BHRA appeared in Lodi in October, where he was the keynote speaker at a major TUFF fund-raiser. On August 29, 1990, RJ Reynolds hired a firm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to send letters to Lodi residents encouraging them to vote against the ordinance.[24]

In November, despite the efforts of TUFF and the tobacco industry, the voters in Lodi approved the ordinance by an overwhelming 60 percent (1,986 to 1,470).

Even after they lost the election, TUFF did not give up.[25] They threatened a recall of the council members who voted for the ordinance and targeted Mayor Randy Snider when he ran for reelection; Snider won. They filed a legal challenge against the ordinance, which failed. They attempted to organize noncompliance. In the end, however, the ordinance went into effect and was enforced, making Lodi the first city in California to enact and maintain a law requiring 100 percent smoke-free restaurants.

Other cities began to follow suit. In August 1990 the coastal college town of San Luis Obispo implemented the nation's first law creating smoke-free bars.

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