Nov. 27 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – A federal judge today ordered tobacco companies to admit that they have deliberately deceived the American public and finally tell the truth about their deadly and addictive products and fraudulent marketing. Today's ruling is a critical step toward ending decades of tobacco industry deception that has resulted in millions of premature deaths, untold suffering and billions in health care costs. Requiring the tobacco companies to finally tell the truth is a small price to pay for the devastating consequences of their wrongdoing.
Today's ruling spells out the corrective statements U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler first ordered tobacco companies to make in 2006 when she found them guilty of violating civil racketeering laws and engaging in a decades-long fraud to deceive the American people.
It is particularly important that Judge Kessler ordered the tobacco companies to admit in each corrective statement that "a Federal court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public." Judge Kessler ordered the corrective statements to prevent future deception by the tobacco companies. To achieve this goal, the tobacco companies must be required to tell the public the truth not only about their products, but also about their prior deceit so consumers will not be misled in the future. Without such an admission, the tobacco companies could turn the court's requirement that they tell the truth into an opportunity to appear trustworthy, enabling them to continue deceiving the public.
Implementing Judge Kessler's 2006 judgment, today's order requires tobacco companies to make corrective statements about the adverse health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke; the addictiveness of nicotine; the lack of health benefits from smoking "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes; and the companies' manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery. The corrective statements will be made through newspaper and television advertising, on the companies' web sites and on cigarette packaging.
The Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund (a 501c4 affiliate of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids) is one of six public health groups that Judge Kessler allowed to intervene in the case, along with the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and National African American Tobacco Prevention Network.