US judge orders tobacco firms to admit they lied

Those “truths” include statements such as “More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined;”/FILE

WASHINGTON, Nov 28 – A US federal judge ruled here that tobacco companies must run ads acknowledging that they lied about the health effects of cigarettes, and explain in blunt terms the adverse effects of smoking.

The ruling on Tuesday by District Judge Gladys Kessler was part of a government racketeering case against top cigarette companies originally brought in September 1999.

Kessler ruled in 2006 that the companies violated racketeering laws by deceiving the public for decades on the health dangers of smoking, and were ordered to publish corrective statements on five topics – including the health risks of smoking, the addictiveness of smoking, and the fact that there was no health benefit in smoking ‘light’ cigarettes.

The exact wording of those statements however was held up pending tobacco company litigation.

Kessler said on Tuesday that each “corrective statement” must begin with words declaring that a federal court ruled the tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. Here is the truth.”

Those “truths” include statements such as “More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined;” “Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction;” and “When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”

Defendants in the case include Philip Morris US, a subsidiary of the Altria Group; RJ Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Tobacco Company.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

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