Tobacco companies begin running court-ordered ads about consequences of smoking
On Nov. 26, the major U.S. tobacco companies began running court-ordered newspaper and television advertisements about the deadly consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke, as well as the companies' intentional design of cigarettes to make them more addictive.
The ads are the culmination of a long-running lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice filed against the tobacco companies in 1999. A federal court in 2006 ordered the tobacco companies to make these "corrective statements." After 11 years of appeals by the tobacco companies, a federal judge issued a final order directing them to begin running the ads in newspapers on Sunday, Nov. 26, with the television ads beginning the following day.
The defendant tobacco companies were ordered to purchase five full-page ads in the first section of the Sunday edition of the 50+ newspapers specified by the court. Each newspaper ad will contain one of the five corrective statements. The specific schedule is as follows:
- Sun., Nov. 26 – Adverse Health Effects of Smoking
- Sun., Dec. 10 – Addictiveness of Smoking and Nicotine
- Sun., Jan. 7 – Lack of Significant Health Benefit from Smoking "Low Tar," "Light," "Ultra Light," "Mild" and "Natural" Cigarettes
- Sun., Feb. 4 – Manipulation of Cigarette Design and Composition to Ensure Optimum Nicotine Delivery
- Sun., March 4 – Adverse Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
The ads must also appear on the newspapers' websites.
The TV ads will air on the major networks for one year, Monday through Thursday, between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The tobacco companies must also publish the corrective statements on their websites and cigarette packs, but the implementation details are still being finalized.