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Big Tobacco Must Admit They Lied

Judge suggests harsh wordings for new ads


A federal judge has ruled that major tobacco companies must run ads stating they previously lied about cigarettes’ harmful effects.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, is the latest in the 13-year history of USA v. Philip Morris USA, et al. It follows Kessler’s 2006 judgement that the companies must place the ads and attempt to finalize their wording, reports Reuters.

The ruling affects Altria Group‘s (NYSE:MO) Philip Morris USA unit, Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) and Lorillard (NYSE:LO). It is not known if the companies will appeal the ruling.

Some of the wordings that the judge decided upon are:

  • “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.”
  • “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 tobacco firms must pay for the placements. Still to be finalized are the media and timing of the placements. While the new campaign could run for up to two years, the original plan was to have them run in newspapers, corporate websites, packaging and major television networks. However, the judge wrote in her decision that other forms, such as newspaper websites, should now be considered.

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