November 28, 2012

Tobacco companies ordered to admit they lied over smoking danger

Major tobacco companies who spent decades denying they lied to the US public about the dangers of cigarettes must spend their own money on a public advertising campaign saying they did lie, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
The ruling sets out what might be the harshest sanction to come out of a historic case that the justice department brought in 1999 accusing the tobacco companies of racketeering.
US district judge Gladys Kessler wrote that the new advertising campaign would be an appropriate counterweight to the companies' "past deception" dating back to at least 1964.
The advertisements are to be published in various media for up to two years.
Details of the campaign – how much it will cost and which media will be involved – are still to be determined and could lead to another prolonged fight.

Kessler's ruling on Tuesday, which the companies could try to appeal against, aims to finalise the wording of five different statements the companies will be required to use.
One of them begins: "A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes."
Another statement includes the wording: "Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day."
The wording was applauded by health advocates who have waited years for tangible results from the case.
"Requiring the tobacco companies to finally tell the truth is a small price to pay for the devastating consequences of their wrongdoing," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-tobacco group in Washington.
"These statements do exactly what they should do. They're clear, to the point, easy to understand, no legalese, no scientific jargon, just the facts," said Ellen Vargyas, general counsel for the American Legacy Foundation.
The largest cigarette companies in the US spent $8.05bn in 2010 to advertise and promote their products, down from $12.5bn in 2006, according to a report issued in September by the Federal Trade Commission.
The major tobacco companies, which fought against having to use words such as "deceived" in the statements, citing concern for their rights of free speech, gave a muted response.
"We are reviewing the judge's ruling and considering next steps," said Bryan Hatchell, a spokesman for Reynolds American Inc.
Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc, is studying the decision, a spokesman said.
The justice department, which urged the strong language, was pleased with the ruling, a spokesman said.
Kessler's ruling considered whether the advertising campaign – known as "corrective statements" – would violate the companies' rights, given that the companies never agreed with her 2006 decision that they violated racketeering law.
But she concluded the statements were allowed because the final wording is "purely factual" and not controversial.
She likened the advertising campaign to other statements that US officials have forced wayward companies to make.
The Federal Trade Commission, she wrote, once ordered a seller of supposed "cancer remedies" to send a letter on its own letterhead to customers telling them the commission had found its advertising to be deceptive.
"The government regularly requires wrongdoers to make similar disclosures in a number of different contexts," Kessler wrote.


  1. Once the TPPA is signed things like this will never happen. Corporate take over by stealth.


  2. Oh wow this is way out of line,WHat about the Biggest cause of death,disease,injuries etc? That is BOOZE i'm talking about,Yes all forms of Alcohol.what does the label say ? May cause health problems,and pregnancy problems right? Well i would have to say at a cost to Society Just in the USA of $ 280 Billion per year because of those 500 Billion alcoholic beverages consumed 24/7 365 days a year,I SAY ALCOHOL NEEDS TO GET IT TOO,Smoking costs don't even come close to what ALCOHOL DOES

  3. Good news!!! Now, please find a judge that will make politicos and banksters and those from the FED admit they lied, over, and over, and over, and are still lying.

  4. What about the radioactive waste used to fertilize them? Why not go TOTALLY honest and put ingredients and such on the labels, such as salt peter. AFter all, tobacco is consumable goods, regardless whether it's eaten or smoked.

  5. Its too late. My Mother in law died in 2007 from lung cancer from smoking for over 30 years.

    Those cannot say NO to smoking, deserve what they get. And IMO ALL smokers should NOT able to access any health care relating to their lungs or cancer, as they CHOSE to smoke so they must live with the consequences.

    A broken leg and a heart problems can be treated but not asthma, not emphysema and certainly not lung cancer.

    Smokes have GOT to accept the consequences of their actions!!!!

  6. Why??? is the gov so agin people smoking but so much for vaccinations, aspartame and GMOs? They say tobacco contains 70 cancer causing agents but makes illegal BPA in plastic because it contains one cancer causing agent? My brother in law just died of small cell lung cancer and he didn't smoke. My grandmother lived to 92 and smoked like a chimney. DYODD people and quit believing the gov and the media are your friends.