Big Tobacco Found Guilty Of Lying: 5 Things They Are Forced To Admit Publicly
In 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler found tobacco companies guilty of breaking civil racketeering laws. It was found that the tobacco industry spent decades engaged in fraud and lying to the public about the dangers of smoking.
Judge Kessler ruled that the tobacco industry must publish corrective and educational statements about the dangerous effects of tobacco.
Big Tobacco spent nearly 11 years fighting this ruling in court, but in 2017, they were forced to come clean. After nearly 50 years of lying and deceiving, corrective statements began running on November 26, 2017.
Here are the five lies Big Tobacco was forced to admit publicly:
- Big Tobacco lied, saying smoking wasn’t dangerous.
For decades, Big Tobacco repeatedly lied about tobacco’s adverse health effects.
- Big Tobacco knew nicotine was addictive.
Big Tobacco not only denied that smoking is addictive, they withheld research that proved it was addictive from the public and the government.
- Big Tobacco lied about light and low tar cigarettes being healthier.
Big Tobacco tricked the public into believing that “low tar” and “light” cigarettes were a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes.
- Big Tobacco engineered cigarettes to contain higher amounts of nicotine.
Evidence shows that Big Tobacco designed their cigarettes with special paper, filters and additives to increase their addictiveness.
- Big Tobacco continually denied the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Despite overwhelming evidence and research – including research done by tobacco companies themselves — Big Tobacco continually denied that secondhand smoke is hazardous to nonsmokers.
The defendants — Lorillard Inc., Altria (owner of Philip Morris USA), and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (owner of Winston-Salem) — were ordered by the court to publish their corrective statements in the Sunday editions of 50 newspapers and on the newspapers’ websites.
As a penalty for their violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, they also aired statements on CBS, ABC or NBC five times per week for a year, posted statements on their websites and added statements to their products every February, June and October for two years.
While Big Tobacco had to admit the truth, they’re still pushing misinformation. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette usage by high school students increased by 78%, with kids reporting vaping as early as 12 years old. In a recent poll, 60% of youth who use e-cigarettes did not realize their vapes always contain nicotine. The vaping epidemic affects teens across Oklahoma, and with e-cigarette companies like JUUL seeing investments from Altria, Big Tobacco is seeing big profits.
While the industry is finally admitting the truth, many of Oklahoma’s tobacco policies were influenced by their lobbyists. To this day, most of those policies are still on the books. Show your support for common-sense tobacco policies in Oklahoma and receive email updates about our progress by clicking here.
Want more information about the landmark 2006 court ruling? Click Here.