Tobacco Companies Must Admit Lying on Products, Judge Says

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 04:49 PM

(Updates with examples of statements in second paragraph.)

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. tobacco companies including Altria Group Inc’s Philip Morris USA must publish warnings with their products, in advertisements and on their websites that say they lied to the public about the health hazards of smoking, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington today ruled on the text of so-called corrective statements proposed by the Justice Department. According to the ruling, one states: “Tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.” Another states: “All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, and premature death.”

The statements stem from the government’s 1999 case against the tobacco industry. In 2006, Kessler found the defendants, which also include Reynolds American Inc.’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Inc.’s Lorillard Tobacco Co., violated anti-racketeering laws by conspiring to hide the dangers of cigarettes.

Kessler previously ordered the companies to stop marketing cigarettes as “light” and “low-tar” and to make statements about the health effects of smoking in newspapers and magazines and on materials attached to cigarette packages.

Today’s ruling didn’t set a deadline for when the statements would be published.

Steven Callahan, a spokesman for Richmond, Virginia-based Altria spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment on the ruling.

The case is U.S. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., 99-cv-02496, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

--Editors: Fred Strasser, David E. Rovella

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington federal court at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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Tobacco Companies Must Admit Lying on Products, Judge Says
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 04:49 PM
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