Big Tobacco must come clean on their websites

June 18, 2018

Thanks to a historic lawsuit, Big Tobacco will have to publicize on their own websites that their products are deadly and that they intentionally made them addictive.

The lawsuit, originally filed by the Department of Justice and later joined by the American Cancer Society, argued that the tobacco companies had deceived consumers by knowingly hiding the health dangers associated with smoking and by marketing cigarettes to children.

Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that tobacco companies conspired to deceive the American public. Because of that, they must now issue corrective statements saying that cigarettes are addictive and cause cancer and that secondhand smoke is deadly. 

Starting last fall, Big Tobacco has been required to buy advertisements on television stations and in major newspapers to announce these statements.

The next significant step of the ruling takes effect today and requires tobacco companies to display the corrective statements prominently on the homepages of their websites.

People visit tobacco companies’ websites to get discount codes and coupons for packs of cigarettes, making their websites a critical part of their marketing plan. In 2016, Big Tobacco gave out over $5.8 billion in promotional discount codes to keep customers addicted.

Now, because of the court case brought by the American Cancer Society and other plaintiffs, consumers that log on to tobacco companies’ websites will see the truth about the devastating impact of their products.