This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Great American Smokers' Club
— One of the more colorful and creative of the smoker's rights scams. —
Congress passed a smoking ban on all domestic flights of two hours or less, and Northwest Airlines decided to introduce a complete smoking ban on all their flights. This triggered a couple of smoking enthusiasts to start their club with the aim, so it said, of starting its own airline. The tobacco industry gave them encouragment for a couple of months until it became apparent that airline smoking bans weren't really a problem for most smokers.
The airline idea was then dropped and this became just another of the tobacco industry's fake smokers groups. The Tobacco Institute had this one listed as a member of the American Smokers Alliance. However, the Tobacco Action Network had the GASC listed with the same phone number as the Institute itself.
The major tobacco companies continue to perpetrate the "smokers' rights" charade, pouring millions of dollars into these "grass-roots" groups.
Some key documents
1987: Nov. Incorporated in Texas. This organisation was supposedly started by two Texas from Dallas, Glenn Herndon and [Mr] Kay Cohlmia. Herndon was a computer consultant primarily to the airline industry. Cholmia supposedly ran a freight airline service.
1988 Mar 28: USA Today article in favour of smoking bans on airlines. Northwest Airlines had decided to implement a smoke-free policy beginning April 23.
Another article "Stop Trampling on the rights of smokers" is by Glenn Herndon:
Our club and many other groups, such as the Smokers' Rights Alliance in Arizona, are finally rising to the occasion. And we mean business. Our smoker airline is in business for profit as well as to make a statement for smokers on a national scale. Most of the other smokers' rights groups exist solely to fight the growing trend toward total outlawing of an individual's right to smoke.
Northwest is going to be hurt by its decision to ban all smoking.
1988 Feb 1 - 5: Weekly Report from Dan Nelson the Regional Director for the Tobacco Institute in Region IV.
Spoke with John Lyon, PR department with the Tobacco Institute in D.C. Lyon was interested in a news article he received concerning the "Great American Smokers Club" that had been formed by some individuals in Dallas. I indicated to John that I had heard about this organization and had seen several newspaper articles about their activity. I made copies of the newspaper articles and forwarded everything to John in D.C.
I spoke on the phone with Glenn Herndon who is one of the fonders of the "Great American Smokers Club". Herndon indicated to me that he and his partners had put together this organization because of frustration with all of the anti-tobacco activity that has taken place across the country in recent years. Herndon seemed like a legitimate business person and I put him in contact with John Lyon at TI in DC.
[NOTE: no mention of airlines at this time. Why?]
1988 Feb 1: An article in the Dallas Morning Herald now has a third member involved in the airline start up, Danny Cuozzo, the club's vice president for operations. They say the idea came from Dallas entrepreneury Kay Cohlmia; she owned Pet Care Inc. ' a company that offers health insurance for pets.'
1988 Mar 31: The GASC now claims to have 8,000 members, but the price of membership had dropped from $25 to $10. They will charter 91 seat jets.
1988 April 3: The New York Times says the airlines will fly April 23.
Seats on the charter flights will be sold at "the exact fares that the competition is ctiarging-$59 at peak times and $42 off hours; " Mr. Herndon said. The club will start taking reservations April 6.
The club's annual fee is $20 but there is a special rate of $10 through May 15.
1988 May 23: Susan Ridge is by-lining AN article as from "PM Editorial Services" (presumably Philip Morris, but without actually saying so) This article is a promotional piece for the "Great American Smokers's Club" (See page 5)
When Congress passed a smoking ban on all domestic flights of two hours or less, two smokers in Texas were so outraged they decided to fight back by launching a charter airline service for smokers on April 22, the same day the federal ban goes into effect.
"The government created a void in the marketplace with this smoking ban and we jumped on it," said Glenn Herndon, president of the Great American Smoker's Club. "Over 30% of the commuter public have no place to go. We offer them an alternative: " By offering its new airline service to club members only, Herndon said the government ban won't apply.
"We'll accommodate non-smokers on our flights as well," he commented, "as long as they are members:"
For the same fares that other tegional carriers offer, Herndon says club members can travel from Love Field in Dallas to Houston 10 times a day each way. Service to New Orleans, San Antonio, Austin, Tulsa and Oklahoma City is scheduled to be on-line by June.
The Great American Smoker's Club also plans to expand its service to four other hubs across the country to stay competitive, including New York. Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas or Phoenix on the West Coast. Herndon hopes to be in at least three of the hubs by July.
Charter memberships are being sold for S10 a person ($20/family). After April 22, the price goes up to $25/individual and S40/family. Many non-smokers have joined their family members who smoke in a joint membership plan so they can fly together.
[It is hard to imagine that this sort of scam actually received any publicity. But it did.]
1988 Apr 28: The two-hour ban has come into play, and the TMA International Executive Summary comments that
"Few smokers, as witnessed by the relatively smooth implementation of the US ban, appear to be resisting this global trend This gives a good history of airline smoking bans.http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gty54c00/pdf
1988 Aug 12: Glenn Herndon writes to Sara Ridgway, VP of Public Relations at Lorillard (and to all the other companies) soliciting financial support.
The ownership of GASC has changed hands and the primary emphasis of the club has returned to the smoker's rights issue. GASC wants to help in the effort of insuring, that the smoking ban on flights of two hours or less does, in fact, reach a sunset on April 2'2, 1990. We are continuing to discuss this issue and others with the staff of the TobaccolInstitute.
The telephone numbers on this letterhead have been temporarily suspended. Please give me a call at (214) [418-1229] to discuss the position of your organizatiton regarding this matter.
The plans of this resurrected organisation now excludes charter aircraft, but offers to act as a tobacco front.
GASC is a smoker's rights organization with the stated purposes of:
- Keeping smokers informed on smoking, legislation
- Encouraging smokers to register and vote
- Encouraging smokers to become involved'at all levels of government regarding,the smoking issue
- Providing smokers with the opportunity to purchase selected merchandise at member prices
- Passing membership information on to tobacco industry companies so that they can stay in contact with members.