The Tobacco Industry is Forced to Fess Up

August 29, 2019

Do you know what the tobacco industry has been doing for almost 20 years?  (Besides continuing to make and market dangerous and addictive products.)  They’ve been fighting a court order to publish statements about how they’ve deceived the public.

Major U.S. tobacco companies were ordered to run TV and newspaper ads, called “corrective statements,” that tell Americans the truth about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke as a result of a case brought against the industry by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1999.  The case concluded in 2006, and the judgement by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler found the tobacco companies guilty of violating civil racketeering laws and intentionally lied to the public about the dangers and addictiveness of its products.

Judge Kessler said of the tobacco industry, “The evidence in this case clearly establishes that Defendants have not ceased engaging in unlawful activity.  Their continuing misconduct misleads consumers in order to maximize Defendants’ revenues by recruiting new smokers (the majority of whom are under the age of 18), preventing current smokers from quitting, and thereby sustaining the industry.”

Specifically, the tobacco industry has been dragged kicking and screaming to inform the public on these areas:

1. The adverse health effects of smoking

2. The addictiveness of smoking and nicotine

3. The lack of significant health benefits from smoking “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light,” “mild” and “natural” cigarettes (which have been deceptively marketed as less harmful than regular cigarettes).

4. The manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery.

5. The adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.