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Tobacco Companies Start Court-Ordered Ads Against Smoking

The advertisements in print and on TV will run for a year.
November 30, 2017

​WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Tobacco ads return to the nation’s airwaves for the first time since 1971, only this time, instead of promoting smoking, tobacco companies admit to making cigarettes addictive, USA Today reports.

Philip Morris, which makes Marlboro, and R.J. Reynolds, which manufacturers Camel and Newport brands, have to run the court-mandated ads proclaiming the companies knew the cigarettes were designed to be addictive and altered smokers’ brains. The TV and newspaper ads also must say that smoking kills 1,200 Americans daily. The ads must run for an entire year.

The companies, which must pay for the placements of these ads, had fought for 11 years to delay the ads after a 2006 court ruling. The original 1999 Department of Justice lawsuit against Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds initiated a federal order for the firms to run “corrective statements” to counteract years of misinformation.

The court’s order requires the companies to publish five statements related to cigarette smoking across several communication channels, including newspaper and television ads, on the companies’ websites and on cigarette packs for a year or more. Statements include that tobacco firms changed the ingredients in cigarettes to make them more addictive, that “light” cigarettes aren’t any safer than regular cigarettes and that you can get lung cancer from second-hand smoke.

“We’re focused on the future," said Murray Garnick, executive vice president of Philip Morris owner Altria. Many tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, are working on alternative options to cigarettes, such as heat-not-burn and vaping products.