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Big Tobacco Guilty of Lying to the Public

TOBACCO COMPANIES OWN UP TO DECEPTION – BEGIN PUBLISHING CORRECTIVE STATEMENTS

OKLAHOMA CITY –  (Tuesday, Oct. 3) –  After more than 11 years of litigation, tobacco companies found guilty of breaking civil racketeering laws, lying to the public about the dangers of smoking and marketing to children will begin publishing corrective statements next month.

In court documents filed Monday, the parties in the federal civil lawsuit reached an agreement on the publication of corrective statements. The proposed agreement lays out a timeline the tobacco industry will use to publish statements that disclose to the public that the companies lied about the dangers of secondhand smoke, mislead consumers about the health effects of tobacco use and marketed tobacco to children.

 Lorillard Inc., Altria, owner of Philip Morris USA, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. are required to air the corrective statements on ABC, CBS or NBC five times per week for a year. The companies are also required to publish corrective statements in the Sunday editions of 35 newspapers and on newspaper websites.

 The corrective statement newspaper ads are expected to run in the front Sunday section of newspapers on Nov. 26, Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Feb. 4 and March 4. In Oklahoma, corrective statements will appear in the Black Chronicle, per the judge’s order. Corrective statements will also appear in the Dallas Morning News, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

 The tobacco companies are also required to post statements on their websites and affix corrective statements to cigarette packs several times during a two-year period.

 In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the tobacco companies were guilty of breaking civil racketeering laws, lying to the public about the dangers of smoking and marketing to children. The judge ordered the the companies to publish corrective statements, and the tobacco companies have spent 11 years litigating the contents and placement of the statements in court.  

“Since its inception, the tobacco industry has profited from deceptively promoting products that lead to disease, death and economic hardship,” said John Woods, Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) executive director. “To counter tobacco industry tactics and misinformation, TSET’s Tobacco Stops with Me has worked to educate Oklahomans about the negative impact of tobacco for nearly a decade. For the first time, the tobacco industry is being forced educate the public about the dangers of their product instead of spending money to market these deadly products.”  

The statements must address the following areas where tobacco companies mislead the public:

  • Adverse health effects of smoking
  • Addictiveness of smoking and nicotine
  • Lack of significant health benefit from switching to low tar, light, or ultra light cigarettes
  • Manipulation of cigarette design to increase nicotine levels delivered to smokers
  • Adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke

In Oklahoma alone, smoking kills more than 7,500 adults annually and leaves thousands suffering with chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.  Tobacco doesn’t just affect the user. For Oklahoma’s children, 1-in-5 lives with secondhand smoke, contributing to asthma, ear and lung infections and more missed school days.

“In Oklahoma, tobacco companies spend $169 million yearly to market cigarettes and other tobacco products to young adults. Not surprisingly, nine out of 10 tobacco users start before the age of 18,” Woods said. “These corrective statements will make a huge difference to millions of Americans who have been lied to for decades through deceitful marketing campaigns by the tobacco industry.”

For more information about the ruling and its effects, click here

About Tobacco Stops With Me Tobacco Stops With Me is a statewide campaign, funded through the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Trust, that provides an efficient, emotional and highly recognizable tobacco-free message for Oklahomans to rally around. By educating the public about the negative effects and impact of tobacco, the goal of Tobacco Stops With Me is to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and improve the health and quality of life of every Oklahoman. Tobacco Stops With Me aims to inspire individuals to make positive changes—not only for their own health, but for the health of the entire state as well

About TSET The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and privatesectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more goto tset.ok.gov.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Julie Bisbee, julieb@tset.ok.gov
Direct: 405-521-4992
Cell: 405-301-3693