Feds Want Light Cigarette Confession, Other Admissions From Tobacco Industry

The Justice Department just announced that it is seeking some public, honest disclosure from Big Tobacco, including admission that the industry lied about so-called <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/light_cigarettes">light cigarettes and the addictiveness of nicotine. The Justice Department also noted that smoking Cigarettes leads to an array of medical issues and kills some 1,200 Americans each day, said Bloomberg Businessweek.

The government is seeking a federal order to compel cigarette companies to release advertisements admitting that they lied to the public about the Toxic Injuries linked to Cigarette Smoking, said Businessweek. There are 14 proposed statements with some focusing on the fact that there are, in fact, no health benefits from smoking “low tar,” “ultra-light,” and “mild” cigarettes and some pointing to the adverse effects from second-hand smoke, with every statement labeled “Paid for” with the cigarette manufacturer’s name and the verbiage, “under order of a federal district court,” reported Businessweek. Businessweek provided the following quoted statements and statement portions:

• “For decades, we denied that we controlled the level of nicotine delivered in cigarettes. Here’s the truth ….We control nicotine delivery to create and sustain smokers’ addiction, because that’s how we keep customers coming back.”

• “We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits.”

• “Just because lights and low tar cigarettes feel smoother, that doesn’t mean they are any better for you. Light cigarettes can deliver the same amounts of tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes.”

• “A federal court is requiring tobacco companies to tell the truth about cigarette smoking. Here’s the truth: … Smoking kills 1,200 Americans. Every day.”

• “We told Congress under oath that we believed nicotine is not addictive. We told you that smoking is not an addiction and all it takes to quit is willpower. Here’s the truth: Smoking is very addictive. And it’s not easy to quit.”

• “The surgeon general has concluded” that “children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems and more severe asthma.”

The Justice Department released these proposed statements after it won approval from U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s to place the statements in the public record and is looking to have the tobacco industry fund these so-called “corrective statements” in a variety of advertisements, including print and air, noted Businessweek. Judge Kessler has not decided on verbiage, how the ads will be placed, and their run length, added Businessweek.

In 2006, Judge Kessler, said that Big Tobacco hid the dangers connected to cigarette smoking for decades; if she approves the order, then the statements would be a solution toward ensuring that these mistakes not be repeated, said Businessweek. The government brought its case against the tobacco industry in 1999.

Industry is expected to argue against the verbiage and just sought an extension to 90 days in which to respond. The request, said Businessweek was denied and industry has until March 3rd to submit its response.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America, with the Toxic Substance linked to some 443,000 deaths and $100 billion spent in healthcare costs annually. Second-hand smoke has been linked to a variety of health issues; contains over 4,000 substances, including over 50 known or suspected carcinogens; and is linked to many diseases in adults and children, such as sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, asthma, coronary heart disease, lung and sinus cancers, sinus problems, mental problems, and hearing loss. Smoking has also recently been linked to colorectal cancer, creating damage in the body just minutes after inhaling for the first time, increasing risks for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and significantly increasing arterial stiffness in people as young as 18 to 30.

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