Institute for Regulatory Policy

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) was founded in 1991 as an operating subunit of Federal Focus. It was a front group created by the tobacco industry to support its version of "sound science" in environmental and public health policy. In addition to tobacco, IRP has worked on issues including radon, chlorinated water and electromagnetic fields.


Beginning as early as the 1970s, the tobacco industry began to worry about the mounting evidence showing that nonsmokers as well as smokers suffer adverse health effects from secondhand smoke inhaled in bars, restaurants and other public places. Industry executives realized that the issue of tobacco's indirect effects posed a potentially greater threat to profits than the issue of its direct effects on smokers themselves. Once the public realized that cigarettes were also killing nonsmokers, anti-tobacco activists would press forward with increasing success in their campaigns to ban smoking in public places.

"If smokers can't smoke on the way to work, at work, in stores, banks, restaurants, malls, and other public places, they are going to smoke less," complained Philip Morris political affairs director Ellen Merlo in a speech to tobacco vendors. "A large percentage of them are going to quit. In short, cigarette purchases will be drastically reduced and volume declines will accelerate."[1]

Researchers have known for decades that secondhand smoke causes or exacerbates a number of health problems in nonsmokers, including heart disease, emphysema and asthma. In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added to the list by publishing a risk assessment that designated secondhand tobacco smoke for the first time as a known cause of lung cancer. The tobacco industry's preoccupation with "sound science" emerged as it mobilized to fight the EPA risk assessment.

In the 'Report on Recent ETS and IAQ Developments' (ETS='Environmental tobacco smoke' also known as 'secondhand tobacco smoke'; IAQ=Indoor Air Quality) on August 27, 1991 was written:

The Institute for Regulatory Policy, a research group headed by Thorne Auchter, and affiliated with Federal Focus, Inc., recently submitted a report to the Vice President's Council on Competitiveness proposing an Executive Order that would provide centralized guidance for the scientific objectivity of risk assessments. The 170-page report is titled "Toward Common Measures: Recommendations for a Presidential Executive Order on: Environmental Risk Assessment and Risk Management Policy."[2]

Federal Focus is a Philip Morris-funded 501(c)(3) non-profit organization set up by Thorne Auchter and James Tozzi in 1986. Later James Tozzi changed his focus to his company Multinational Business Services (MBS) while Thorne Auchter founded IRP as a subsidiary of Federal Focus. [2] Other Federal Focus subsidaries were 'Center for Epidemiological Studies' (director: Gary Kayajanian, Ph.D.), 'Health Policy Institute' (director: Joel Rosenblatt, Ph.D.) [3] and the 'Center for the Study of Environmental Endocrine Effects' (CSEEE). Only IRP and CSEEE are still mentioned of the Federal Focus site as 'Past Operating Subunits. [4] The 990 form of Federal Focus for 2002 (last available one on GuideStar) has 4 people listed as managers: Jim J. Tozzi (director), Barbara Tozzi (treasurer), William Kelly (secretary), and James Tang (vice president). [5] Federal Focus still uses the same address in Washington that was also used for MSB. [6] Joel Rosenblatt represented on June 7, 1999 the 'Center for Regulatory Effectiveness' (CRE) which some people see as the successor of IRP. [7]

In internal Philip Morris documents lobbyist James Tozzi was described as the company's "primary contact on the EPA/ETS risk assessment during the second half of 1992." During that period, it noted, "Tozzi has been invaluable in executing our Washington efforts including generating technical briefing papers, numerous letters to agencies and media interviews," a service for which Philip Morris paid an estimated $300,000 in consulting fees. The document added that "Tozzi could also be helpful in other regulatory matters (food and environmental) affecting PM."

Philip Morris paid Tozzi's company another $880,000 to establish the IRP as a "nonprofit" think tank, which put together "three different coalitions which support sound science - Coalition for Executive Order, Coalition for Moratorium on Risk Assessments, and Coalition of Cities and States on Environmental Mandates. ... IRP could work with us as well as APCO in a coordinated manner." According to a Philip Morris document, "IRP is now a viable organization that can address various regulatory issues. IRP has established a coalition representing the interests of a broad array of industries and trade associations. Additionally, IRP has established a relationship with many state and local governments throughout the U.S. The coalition could address a number of regulatory issues of interest to PM in 1993."[8]

MBS employee Steven J. Milloy went on to launch and several other organizations that continue to attack environmentalists, public health and food safety regulators, anti-nuclear and animal rights activists, and a wide range of other targets that he accuses of using unsound science to advance various political agendas.

A pamphlet of Federal Focus published around April 1996 was one of the last signs IRP was still active. [9] Thorne Auchter who was director of IRP became later the Executive Director of the in 1996 founded Center for Regulatory Effectiveness. [10]


Affiliated organizations

In addition to the IRP, Tozzi and MBS have created a number of other anti-regulatory projects, including:

Articles and Resources


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