Judge Rules Tobacco Companies Must Take Out Ads Saying They Lied About Dangers Of Smoking

Judge Rules Tobacco Companies Must Take Out Ads Saying They Lied About Dangers Of Smoking by Frederic J. Frommer with contribution by Michael Felberbaum, November 27, 2012, Huffingtonpost.ca
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements that say they lied about the dangers of smoking and that disclose smoking’s health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler previously had said she wanted the industry to pay for corrective statements in various types of advertisements. But Tuesday’s ruling is the first time she’s laid out what the statements will say. Each corrective ad is to be prefaced by a statement that a federal court has concluded that the defendant tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking.” Among the required statements are that smoking kills more people than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined, and that “secondhand smoke kills over 3,000 Americans a year.”

The corrective statements are part of a case the government brought in 1999 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Kessler ruled in that case in 2006 that the nation’s largest cigarette makers concealed the dangers of smoking for decades, and said she wanted the industry to pay for “corrective statements” in various types of ads, both broadcast and print. The Justice Department proposed corrective statements, which Kessler used as the basis for some of the ones she ordered Tuesday. Tobacco companies had urged Kessler to reject the government’s proposed industry-financed corrective statements; the companies called them “forced public confessions.” They also said the statements were designed to “shame and humiliate” them. They had argued for statements that include the health effects and addictive qualities of smoking. Kessler wrote that all of the corrective statements are based on specific findings of fact made by the court. “This court made a number of explicit findings that the tobacco companies perpetuated fraud and deceived the public regarding the addictiveness of cigarettes and nicotine,” she said.

“Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.”
“Defendant tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.”
“When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”
“All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks and premature death – lights, low tar, ultra lights and naturals. There is no safe cigarette.”
“Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke.”
“Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma and reduced lung function.”
“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said the department was pleased with the order. Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called it an important ruling. “The most critical part of the ruling is that it requires the tobacco companies to state clearly that the court found that they deceived the American public and that they are telling the truth now only because the court is ordering them to do so, Myers said in an interview. … In July, a federal appeals court rejected efforts by the tobacco companies to overrule Kessler’s ruling requiring corrective statements. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Province of Alberta unveiling tobacco reduction strategy

Tobacco companies want Ontario’s top court to throw out $50B lawsuit ]

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