Judge Orders Tobacco Firms To Admit to Lies on Dangers of Smoking
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements informing the public that they had lied about the dangers of smoking cigarettes and add information about the health effects of smoking, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports.
Kessler previously had ordered the companies to fund advertisements with such statements, but yesterday's ruling is the first time she delineated what those statements must say.
Kessler, presiding over a case that the federal government filed in 1999, said that each ad must be prefaced with a statement that says the defendant tobacco companies "deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking" (AP/Los Angeles Times, 11/28).
Defendants in the case include Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Tobacco (Kendall/Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal, 11/27).
Kessler's guidelines are based on proposed corrective statements submitted by the Department of Justice. The defendants opposed the DOJ proposals, calling them "forced public confessions" (AP/New York Times, 11/27).
However, the judge rejected that argument. She said, "Every sentence of the corrective statements is based on specific findings of fact made by this court" (Wall Street Journal, 11/27).
Kessler said the advertisements could be published in several media formats, including newspaper, television and corporate websites, over the next two years.The tobacco companies still have the option to appeal the ruling (Ingram, Reuters, 11/27).
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