Tobacco industry releases court mandated corrective statements on health impacts of tobacco use

 CARSON CITY — On Nov. 26, 2017, tobacco companies began running corrective statements mandated by a federal court regarding the health impact of their products. Eleven years after the court issued the mandate, tobacco companies are placing statements in local and national newspapers and during primetime television on major television networks.

In 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice sued major cigarette manufacturers, charging them with violating the civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and other laws. Tobacco company defendants in the case include Altria, its Philip Morris USA subsidiary and R.J. Reynolds. On Aug. 17, 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued her verdict against the companies. In a 1,683-page final opinion, she detailed how the tobacco companies “have marketed and sold their lethal products with zeal, with deception, with a singled-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted.” Judge Kessler ordered the tobacco companies to publish corrective statements on five topics about which they had deliberately deceived the public:

• the adverse health effects of smoking;

• addictiveness of smoking and nicotine;

• lack of significant health benefit from smoking “low tar,” “light,” “ultralight,” “mild,” and “natural” cigarettes (products that have been marketed as less harmful than regular cigarettes);

• manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery; and

• adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.

“Health care costs in Nevada directly caused by smoking are $1.08 billion annually. After several years of litigation, the tobacco industry will be forced to air media campaigns that notify the public of the dangers of smoking. We hope that these ads will be able to influence smokers to seek help to quit smoking. Nevadans interested in quitting tobacco use should call the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW,” said Maria Azzarelli, Tobacco Control Program Coordinator with Southern Nevada Health District.

Despite progress in reducing smoking and preventing initiation among youth and young adults, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. Seven percent of high school students in Nevada identify as regular smokers, as well as 17 percent of adults. The issuance of the corrective statements by major tobacco companies highlights the importance and severity of health impacts directly caused by tobacco use.

View the full text of the corrective statements at