Tobacco companies told to admit ‘lying’

Tobacco companies told to admit ‘lying’

WASHINGTON - The Associated Press
Tobacco companies told to admit ‘lying’

Farm workers harvest tobacco leaves in Maryland in this photo.

A U.S. federal judge has ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements that say they lied about the dangers of smoking and that disclose smoking’s health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler previously had said she wanted the industry to pay for corrective statements in various types of advertisements. But the ruling on Nov. 27 is the first time she’s laid out what the statements will say.

Each corrective ad is to be prefaced by a statement that a federal court has concluded that the defendant tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking.”

One of them begins: “A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes.” Another statement includes the wording: “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.”

Tobacco companies had urged Kessler to reject the government’s proposed industry-financed corrective statements; calling them “forced public confessions.” They also said the statements were designed to “shame and humiliate” them.