Tobacco Companies Must Begin Placing Statements About Their Products' Dangers on Websites Beginning This Week
In a win for protecting and advancing our nation’s public health, tobacco companies have been ordered to begin publishing statements on their websites this week that tell the truth about their deadly products. Known formally as “corrective statements,” the plain-language statements will continue to advance the effort to hold Big Tobacco responsible for decades of deceptive advertising practices which include the targeting of our nation’s youth in hopes of hooking a new generation of tobacco users.
The order is a result of a 2006 court decision that found tobacco companies had violated civil racketeering laws and lied to the American public for decades about the health effects of smoking and tobacco use. To be clear, tobacco companies are not making these statements voluntarily and have fought for 11-plus years to delay and weaken the implementation of corrective statements. The long-awaited appearance of these statements on tobacco websites follows the same statements running in national newspapers and on national TV, and precedes the statements appearing on cigarette package onserts. The appearance of corrective statements on cigarette package onserts is set to begin this November.
The American Cancer Society, working in conjunction with partners, is proud to be an intervenor in the lawsuit that has led to these corrective statements. An intervenor is a party to the case and has the right to participate in the litigation. We need to do everything we can to make sure Americans, especially our children, know the truth about the deadly effects of tobacco use. While recent reports and surveys have shown that rates of tobacco use among youth are declining, the number of overall youth tobacco users still remains far too high.
Many people visit tobacco company websites to get discount codes and coupons for tobacco products. Now, consumers that log on to those websites will see the truth about the devastating impact of tobacco products. We are pleased to see these long overdue statements appearing on websites and look forward to them beginning to appear on cigarette package onserts later this fall. Our legal team, in coordination with the other public health intervenors, will continue to hold Big Tobacco responsible and fight for the timely implementation of corrective statements that resulted from decades of false and deceptive advertising practices.