The Anti Crusade Against The
Date of original release: 03/16/01
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The powerful and wealthy Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation [RWJF], which receives virtually all its billions from stock ownership in
pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, has been a big player and a major source of
funding for anti-smoker programs and grants ever since Johnson & Johnson began to
market nicotine replacement products. Basically, RWJF funds any study or program that will
raise the price of cigarettes and promote the use of "cessation" products (such
as J&J's Nicotrol). The foundation is also big on promoting smoking bans, no doubt in
the hope that more smokers will try to quit smoking and purchase "nicotine
Not content with attempting to ban smoking in the workplace, in restaurants and bars, and
on virtually all modes of public transportation, the anti-tobacco/pharmacological cartel
is now campaigning to ban smoking in facilities for the elderly.
In paving the way for local and national smoking bans in nursing homes, retirement homes,
and assisted living facilities, the RWJF has awarded a $345,065 "research" grant
to attorney James Bergman of The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. Entitled
"Smoking Policies in Elderly Facilities: Assessment of Current Policies &
Development of Model Policies," the "study" will sniff out current smoking
policies in several facilities for the elderly. It will then develop "model"
smoking policies for facilities for the elderly and "stimulate the adoption of the
model smoking policies and practices at the federal, state, and local/facility
After the "study" is completed, a "Smoke-free Older Americans Report"
will be sent out to the Aging Network and "the tobacco control community" in
order to "stimulate the adoption of smoke-free policies in these key facilities
serving the elderly." The results "will also be broadly disseminated to the
media and general public." Of course they will.
In short, the foundation is paying a lawyer big bucks to write "model" laws to
force nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes to ban all smoking by
their elderly residents and then to work at the national, state, and local levels to make
sure these inhumane laws pass.
Apparently it matters not that such laws will impose a devastating hardship on elderly
smokers and endanger their health.
Some facilities for the elderly have already banned smoking indoors, and as a result of
these draconian bans, elderly smokers have died or been injured because they were forced
to go out in the elements to have a cigarette.
Just a week before Christmas in l998, a 78-year-old woman froze to death when she went
outside her apartment in a Canadian senior center to have a cigarette and the door locked
behind her. Her pitiful cries for help were not heard, and she died alone in the 18 degree
below zero Winnipeg night.
In the Brentwood Care Centre in Calgary, elderly smokers must go outdoors to a trailer to
have a cigarette. Several have fallen or been injured when they attempted to roll their
wheelchairs up or down the ramp to the trailer. One 84 year-old woman fell into a
snowdrift in her wheelchair. Several have fallen inside the trailer and could not get
The Greater Victoria Hospice, a unit in the Royal Jubilees Hospital which prepares
patients for immanent death, was forced by the regional medical health officer for Greater
Victoria (Canada) to ban smoking indoors entirely, even though some of the dying patients
were too weak to be moved from their beds and wheeled outdoors in the elements to have a
Baptist Terrace, a senior living facility in Orlando, Florida, banned smoking not only
indoors but outside as well, even in the parking lot. Smokers at the facility were told in
a newsletter they would have three choices: "(1) stop smoking; (2) smoke away from
Baptist Terrace property, and [sic] (3) leave and live somewhere else."
Most smoking bans are unnecessary and unfair, but none are so inhumane as those imposed on
the elderly. For many elderly smokers, having a cigarette is one of the few joys they have
left. To force them to go outside no matter what the weather, no matter how disabled they
might be, no matter even if they are dying, is despicable beyond belief.
What kind of people would do this to our senior citizens? Among others, the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation, eager to make more money for itself and its pharmaceutical partner
Johnson & Johnson. After all, instead of smoking, the old and the dying can slap on a
patch for comfort and solace. Cold comfort, indeed.
here for a summary of the RWJF-funded "study".