NRA Pushes Bill to Outlaw Anti-Smoking Programs

Photo collage from Flickr users <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/transcendent/4732155238/">Spoony Mushroom</a> and <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/42787780@N04/6447341369/">Fried Dough</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


The National Rifle Association is worried that Kansas might try to discourage gun ownership. So it is throwing its weight behind a bill that would prevent the state from spending money lobbying against “any legal consumer product”—a category that includes, among other things, tobacco and junk food.

Although State Bill 45, debated yesterday by a state Senate committee, focuses on lobbying efforts at the state and local level, a broad interpretation of the language could prevent Kansas from spending anything on programs that discourage the use of harmful products. The bill could “scuttle public health campaigns and other proven public health programs,” the Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday, citing testimony from a Democratic senator and a representative from the American Cancer Society.

The NRA appears to favor this broad interpretation. “Other states allow taxpayer funds to finance expensive advertisement campaigns that demonize perfectly legal products—from everyday consumer products to firearms and ammunition,” reads the gun group’s website. “SB 45 would prohibit this practice in Kansas and make sure that public money is not used to put law-abiding gun owners in the crosshairs of an agency with a political agenda.”

State money could still be used to discourage underage drinking and smoking because those activities are illegal, an NRA spokesman told state senators yesterday. He added that the group’s “major concern” was the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which has “put forth pamphlets and booklets providing for one-size-fits-all gun control measures.”

The NRA’s approach to science, politics, and public health has often drawn comparisons with the tobacco industry. In Kansas, at least, it’s a relationship that the gun lobby now appears to embrace.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.