Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Admit They Lied Over Smoking Risks
A federal judge on Tuesday has ruled that major tobacco companies must tell the US public that they lied about the dangers of cigarettes. They must do so, spending their own money, conducting public advertising campaign.
The ruling comes as a result of a historic case that the justice department brought in 1999 accusing the tobacco companies of racketeering, The Guardian reported.
The ruling was given out by US district judge Gladys Kessler who wrote that this campaign would be the best thing to counterweight to the "past deception" by the companies' way back in 1964.
The advertisements must be published in various media for the next two years and the according to the report, the estimated cost of the campaign may lead to another prolonged fight.
Some of the statements that the companies will be required to use in the campaigns will be "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" and "Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day."
The statements have been appreciated by health advocates.
"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.
According to a report issued in September by the Federal Trade Commission, for the promotion of their products, the largest cigarette companies in the US spent $8.05bn in 2010.