Tobacco Companies Are Told to Correct Lies About Smoking
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements that say they had lied about the dangers of smoking and that disclose smoking’s health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day.
The judge, Gladys Kessler of United States District Court for the District of Columbia, previously said she wanted the industry to pay for corrective statements in various types of advertisements. But Tuesday’s ruling is the first time she 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.” The corrective statements are part of a case the government brought in 1999.
Judge Kessler ruled in that case in 2006 that the nation’s largest cigarette makers had concealed the dangers of smoking for decades, and said she wanted the industry to pay for “corrective statements” in various types of ads.
The Justice Department proposed corrective statements, which Judge Kessler used as the basis for some of the ones she ordered Tuesday.
Tobacco companies had urged Judge Kessler to reject the government’s proposed industry-financed corrective statements; the companies called them “forced public confessions.” Judge Kessler wrote that all of the corrective statements were 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.