Ruling forces big tobacco to admit they lied
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued a ruling on Tuesday that tobacco companies now have to advertise corrective statements saying they "deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking."
Following that statement, each ad must disclose specific adverse health effects caused by cigarette smoke.
Anthony Biglan, Senior Research Scientist at the Oregon Research Institute testified in the original 2005 court case, U.S. vs. Phillip Morris.
Biglan told KVAL News that the court first asked tobacco companies to pay $250 billion in damages. An appellate court later ruled they couldn't recover those damages.
"That limited what could be done," Biglan said. "These corrective warnings are about all Kessler could do."
He added that this is a tiny step for tobacco companies, and he wishes the marketing of cigarettes was better curtailed.
Tobacco companies have already had to put health warnings on cigarette packaging for years.
"There's enough information already known by people who chose to smoke. It's not going to effect my choices and I don't really think it will influence anyone else's." Eric Tojimbara said, in between puffs of his cigarette.
Dell Guinn has been somoking for 40 years. He said that the corrective statements will not effect him personally, but it's nice that tobacco companies have to say they've done something wrong.
"It's a great thing, and it will have some impact. Hopefully on young people. I don't like to see young people smoking."
But Biglan says there is clear evidence that even simple warnings make cigarettes less appealing.
"When you put a warning on a pack of cigarettes, it has an immediate effect on some people who see it, but it has to be changed with some frequency. You know, it's sort of like, you put a painting on a wall and a year later, you never look at it," Biglan said.
Tobacco companies and the justice department will meet next month to discuss implementing the new corrective statements.
They may come in the form of inserts on cigarette packaging, on websites, TV and in newspapers.