In a landmark 2006 judgment, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler found the major U.S. tobacco companies had violated civil racketeering laws (RICO) and engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to deceive the American public about the health effects of smoking and their marketing to children. Among her remedies, Judge Kessler ordered the tobacco companies to publish “corrective statements” that tell the American public the truth about the deadly consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke.
Tobacco companies fought for more than 11 years to delay and weaken the corrective statements, but finally began to publish the court-ordered statements through newspaper and television advertisements in November 2017. The ads – called corrective statements – are print and online ads in about 50 newspapers. They are also required to run ads for one year on the major television networks during prime time.
To prevent continued deception, Judge Kessler ordered the tobacco companies to publish the corrective statements on five topics about which they had deliberately deceived the public (view the full text of the corrective statements):
- The adverse health effects of smoking
- The addictiveness of smoking and nicotine
- 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)
- The manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery
- The adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.
To Learn more about the Court Case, Visit:
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids an advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world, has provided a comprehensive overview of the case history.
The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium is a program of the Public Health Law Center that supports tobacco control policy change and the tobacco control movement across the United States. They have made the court’s 1,700 page opinion more accessible and useful to the public in a publication titled, The Verdict Is In: Findings From United States v. Philip Morris Collection.
(Source: Big Tobacco's "Corrective Statements". Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what-we-do/industry-watch/doj. Published May 2, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2018.)