WASHINGTON – Major US cigarette manufacturers will begin to publish anti-smoking ads in 50 major newspapers nationwide to correct the misleading statements they made over the years about the effects of smoking, a move that complies with a court order filed in 2006, officials said on Wednesday.
The US Department of Justice announced in a statement that the ads will fill the US media starting from Nov. 30 and into the next year.
On Nov. 30, 50 of the major US newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post will begin to publish full-page ads that should “clarify” to the public what the true effects of tobacco are, according to the Department of Justice.
In addition, from the beginning of next week, TV channels across the country will start running those ads for a year.
According to the Department of Justice, the ads will include some of these phrases: “smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day,” “smoking is highly addictive, nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco,” and “cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.”
The legal case dates back to 1999, when the Bill Clinton administration (1993-2001) accused tobacco companies of deceiving the public about the risks of smoking and promoting cigarettes with cartoon ads to attract teenagers.
The accusations were based on a special law called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), initially promulgated to combat organized crime groups like the mafia.
As part of that process, in 2006, the District of Columbia Court ordered the companies Altria, its affiliate Philip Morris USA and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco to place advertisements in the US media to “correct” the misperception the public had for years about tobacco.
The 2006 court order is set to be enforced from Nov. 30, more than ten years late, due to a large amount of counter-complaints filed by US tobacco companies.