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Tobacco products may come with more honest warnings

Big Tobacco may soon be required to post statements where tobacco products are sold, telling the truth about the deadly consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke. The corrective statements will be required if the court accepts a proposed settlement that is part of a 2006 landmark legal decision against the tobacco industry. The statements have already appeared in ads, on cigarette packs, and on the manufacturers’ websites.

More information on the news is available in the release, below.

Big Tobacco, an industry which has for decades addicted and endangered the lives of millions of Americans for their own profit, will finally have to post the truth about their deception and their deadly products where they are sold, if the court accepts a proposed settlement filed by the parties to the case late last night. The agreement in principle finalizes the terms of the corrective statements at point of sale, which will be posted in approximately 200,000 tobacco retail outlets across the nation, ordered as part of the landmark legal decision in the 2006 federal government’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case against the tobacco industry, US v Philip Morris. The new agreement covers the design, size, placement, duration, rotation, and auditing procedures for the statements across the country. The filing was made in conjunction with the Department of Justice (DOJ), six public health organizations party to the case including the American Cancer Society, and tobacco manufacturers in advance of a trial scheduled to begin on June 13.

The 23-year-old case resulted in the industry having to make corrective statements to prevent future harms after being found guilty of racketeering by deceiving the American public on the harms of tobacco products. The statements have already appeared in television and newspaper ads, as well as on packs of cigarettes and on the manufacturers’ websites.

The following is a statement from Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN.)

“We are pleased to see this important next step taken to ensure that the tobacco industry carries out the court’s order to issue corrective statements after being found guilty of deceiving the American people more than two decades ago.

“Big Tobacco manufacturers have proven themselves to be bad actors time and time again and the companies show no signs of changing their behavior of their own volition. Motivated by profit to addict as many individuals as possible, the tobacco industry’s products contribute to the death of approximately 480,000 Americans each year, resulting in up to one-third of all cancer deaths. 

“These corrective statements are intended to prevent future harm. The American Cancer Society is proud to be an intervener in the lawsuit working to put an end to industry deception about the harm of tobacco products.

“While the court agreement is an important and long overdue milestone, the work of ACS CAN to pass policies at all levels of government to reduce tobacco use is essential to eliminating the risk of tobacco-driven cancers.”

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