Tobacco Giants Forced to Display Damning Corrective Statements at Points-of-Sale

Market
Jul.03.2023
Tobacco Giants Forced to Display Damning Corrective Statements at Points-of-Sale

In a landmark judgment spanning over 16 years, tobacco giants Altria, its Phillip Morris U.S. subsidiary, RJ Reynolds, and ITG Brands have been ordered to display corrective statements at points of sale. This final step follows a prolonged legal dispute stemming from a 2006 ruling by US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, who found these tobacco companies guilty of lying about the hazards of cigarettes and secondhand smoke.

 

The companies will now display either 144 or 348 square inches (0.09 or 0.22 square meters) signs in highly visible locations, with an exemplar sign reading, “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.” The 17 unique corrective statements were specified years ago, according to a consortium of anti-smoking groups, with the content finalized in 2017.

 

In a blistering final opinion, Judge Kessler lambasted the defendants for lying about the health effects of smoking, suppressing research, destroying documents, manipulating nicotine to perpetuate addiction, distorting the truth about low-tar and light cigarettes, and abusing the legal system to prioritize profit over individual health and the integrity of the legal system.

 

Altria responded with a statement, suggesting a shift towards “potentially less harmful products” as one of the final steps to close a long-running lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice. RJ Reynolds highlighted that the corrective statement signs appear on its website, and had previously been featured in various media, including newspapers, television, radio, and pack inserts. A spokesperson remarked, "The tobacco industry has evolved considerably since this lawsuit was filed nearly 25 years ago."

 

Despite these claims, it's worth noting that even these purported "potentially-reduced risk" nicotine and tobacco products, such as vaping, have been associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases.

 

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