Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Admit They Lied about Dangers of Smoking

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Tobacco companies must issue public statements that address the dangers of smoking and reveal that cigarette makers lied for years about their product, says a federal judge in Washington, DC.


District Judge Gladys Kessler this week rejected claims from the tobacco companies that portions of the so-called “corrective statements” violated their First Amendment rights. The corrective statements were first ordered in 2006, when Big Tobacco lost its long court battle to defend itself against charges that it had covered up the proven dangers of smoking. The defendants included R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris (Altria) and Lorillard.


Attorneys for the federal government and the tobacco companies proposed their own corrective statements, with Kessler deciding on the final versions.


The statements include:


  • “When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain—that's why quitting is so hard.”
  • “Tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.”
  • “All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, and premature death.”
  • “More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined.”


The tobacco companies were accused of violating racketeering laws by having “knowingly and intentionally engaged in a scheme to defraud smokers and potential smokers, for purposes of financial gain, by making false and fraudulent statements, representations, and promises.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Big Tobacco Ordered to Smoke Out False Statements (by Mike Scarcella, American Lawyer)

Tobacco Companies Must Admit They Lied on Products, Ads (by Tom Schoenberg, Bloomberg)

United States v. Philip Morris et al. (U.S. District Court, District of Columbia) (pdf)

12-Year-Long Lawsuit by Hospitals against Tobacco Companies Inches Towards Jury Selection (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Tobacco’s Big 4 Negotiating with Justice Dept. to Avoid Supreme Court Ruling on Health Fraud (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


yarply 11 years ago
Tobacco. The biggest scapegoat in history.
Heather 11 years ago
I am a smoker, and I want to make it clear that smokers are not retarded. We KNOW smoking is bad and we know all of the dangers that go along with our choice to smoke. Stop wasting money attacking the tobacco companies. The choice to smoke (albeit a stupid one) is no different than the choice to drink. Get off your high horse and find a different cause already.

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