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NAQC Newsroom: Announcements

Ruling issued on corrective statements in DOJ case

Tuesday, November 27, 2012  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

Judge Gladys Kessler issued her ruling on the corrective statements in the federal lawsuit against the tobacco industry, ordering 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.” The corrective statements will be made through newspaper and television advertising, on the companies’ web sites and on cigarette packaging.

Here is Judge Kessler’s ruling, which includes the statements that the companies must use. Below is our press release, followed by two press articles.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 27, 2012

CONTACT: Peter Hamm, 202-296-5469

U.S. Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Admit Deception and Tell the Truth to the American People

Statement of Matthew L. Myers

President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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 implements 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.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-usa-tobacco-update-1l1e8mr9lr-20121127,0,1198091,full.story

US judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception publicly

Reuters

3:32 p.m. CST, November 27, 2012

* Advertisements must be taken out to admit deception

* Companies must advertise 5 different statements

WASHINGTON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Major tobacco companies must take out advertisements saying they deliberately deceived the U.S. public about the danger and addictiveness of cigarettes, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia aims to finalize the wording of the advertisements that the judge first ordered in 2006 after finding the companies violated federal racketeering law.

Tobacco companies fought a public admission of deception, calling it a violation of their free speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler rejected the companies' position, finding that the final wording - which the companies and the U.S. Justice Department have fought over for years – is factual and not controversial.

There are five different statements that the companies will be required to advertise.

One of them begins: "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."

The advertisements will be placed in media that are still to be determined, and they will be different from the warning labels that already are on tobacco products.

"The government regularly requires wrongdoers to make similar disclosures in a number of different contexts," Kessler wrote, calling the language "basic, uncomplicated".

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, which had urged the strong language, had no immediate comment.

Two of the largest companies, Altria Group Inc and Reynolds American Inc, did not immediately return messages requesting comment. The companies could continue to fight the language with another appeal in a case that began in 1999 with the government's racketeering charges.

Source: Victoria Almquist, Director, Outreach,  Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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