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Smoke And Mirrors

When lobbying groups lead small business astray

This story appears in the July 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jack Loughridge started the day tending to his Pensacola, Florida, printing shop and ended it participating in one of the state's most controversial legal brawls. The transition came in the innocuous form of a fax, which turned out to be sent from Florida's largest lobbying group warning that a new law could have damaging effects on businesses. Loughridge expressed his support for the law . . . until he later found out the group had misleadingly persuaded him to side with the tobacco industry.

Loughridge, whose father died of emphysema caused by smoking, was appalled that he had been unknowingly lumped with an industry he despised. "It was explained strictly as legislation that could harm business-it was misrepresented to me," says Loughridge. "I felt I was hoodwinked into siding with the tobacco industry."

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