This Date in UCSF History: Political Ads: There Oughta Be a Law

Campus

[Originally published on November 3, 1994.] Disgust is the overwhelming feeling that washes over me as I listen to the radio. At first a smooth female voice tells me of how she works with children and hates to see them exposed to cigarettes and the harmful smoke they emit. Immediately I feel a rapport with her.

I, too, fear the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, namely second-hand smoke. These harmful effects have been documented beyond a shadow of a doubt. I listen on as the sounds of children playing in the background are heard.

She tells me that access to cigarettes by minors is not regulated enough and that Proposition 188 will impose stricter laws.

She finally urges me to vote for the proposition to ensure a safer environment for children. The commercial ends and I wonder about this proposed law.

It turns out Proposition 188 is a scam by the tobacco lobby!

Its number one financial backer is Philip Morris Corp. I was lied to, and now I am pissed.

The backers of 188 have no intention of decreasing the dangers we face from smoking — in fact they intend to guarantee that we all will continue to be exposed despite local laws to the contrary.

I come from Los Angeles and was very disappointed to find that I was no longer able to eat in a restaurant, here in San Francisco, without my nose being tickled by second-hand smoke.

Prop 188’s passage would result in there being no smoke free restaurants, ever.

In fact, it legislates for smoking areas to be no less than 25 percent of the available area. Prop 188 is opposed by C. Everett Koop, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.

How is it that we allow ourselves to be lied to in such an extreme and grave manner? Have our skins grown so thick as to not be irritated by such incidents? How can one not feel betrayed by such bold lies?

I feel a rage come over me as I listen to the deceitful images and contorted facts.

The opponents of Proposition 186 (the single-payer initiative) tell me how medical care will grind to a halt should it pass.

What they are really saying — but it is well hidden under the cloak of deception — is that the gross profits they are making from medical insurance will grind to a halt.

I am also saddened by the fact that they can outspend the proposition’s proponents by many millions of dollars and buy the votes they need to win.

It is a sad day when the opportunity lo right so many of the ills of our society — and to be fiscally as well as morally responsible about health care for us all — is squashed by “big brother,” the Insurance Company Lobby.

George Orwell had been suspicious of the Government.

If he were here today, he might not be surprised to find the tobacco and insurance industries in the captain’s seat.