www.tobacco.org sounds like it might be a good place to buy some tobacco. Not so. It was a place where "news" was aggregated. By "news" was meant every false claim made by anyone who was even remotely antagonistic toward smokers.
On their website right now is the following which might be removed when they realise how self damning a statement it is. So I record it here for posterity;
"Payroll bounced today. I realize that this is poor reflection on my skills as a business owner, and I'm pretty embarrassed.
But I'm also pretty frustrated. The tobacco news has been without funding for 18 months (save for a 4-month period, which I haven't yet been paid for), so I've taken what income we do get (mostly from Tobacco Documents Online), and used those profits to pay for news continuation. Document funding has mostly dried up in 2007.
We're not really set up to charge subscriptions or take small donations. We need large players in the tobacco control arena to support our work. Subscriptions don't work because
- Significant overhead to handle subscriptions
- Because we provide very little original content (we're more a news aggregator), we'd run into problems with content providers who would want to be paid for the news they're providing.
- Our informal survey hasn't shown that enough people and organizations would pay for this service.
So, maybe we're done. Maybe something will come through, I've heard that the Bloomberg Initiative may be a good fit, but I'm lousy at raising money. I'm grateful to Robert Wood Johnson, American Legacy Foundation, and the other organizations who have funded the news for so many years (and walked me through the contracting and billing process).
After a while, we'll put the archives back up, so we'll still have access to the news history. But we're out of money, and although at 63 Gene might want to retire, that's not really an option now. (So, if you have some work for him, please contact him directly!)
It's been a pleasure serving the tobacco control community, and a joy to experience the many victories, especially in the area of smokefree workplaces (including bars and restaurants). Thank you all for the work you do, and for letting Gene and me be part of that."
To be completely honest I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand there is happiness. On the other joy.