• April 18, 2024

Firms Start Posting Warning Statements

 Firms Start Posting Warning Statements
Photo: Krakenimages.com

Altria Group, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and ITG Brands have started posting warning signs about cigarette smoking in more than 200,000 stores across the United States, reports CNN. The move represents one of the final steps in a lawsuit the Justice Department filed against the tobacco industry in 1999.

The signs include court-specified statements such as “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.” They must be posted until June 30, 2025, in “highly visible places” in English and also Spanish in regions with significant numbers of Spanish speakers.

The postings come after years of dispute following U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler’s judgment in 2006, when the tobacco companies were first ordered to make the corrective statements. The landmark judgment found the industry defendants guilty of lying about the dangers of cigarettes and secondhand smoke.

The defendants lied “about the devastating health effects of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke, they suppressed research, they destroyed documents, they manipulated the use of nicotine so as to increase and perpetuate addiction, they distorted the truth about low tar and light cigarettes so as to discourage smokers from quitting, and they abused the legal system in order to achieve their goal—to make money with little, if any, regard for individual illness and suffering, soaring health costs, or the integrity of the legal system,” Kessler said in her final opinion.

R.J. Reynolds said these corrective statement signs appear on its website and had previously appeared in newspapers, television, radio and on pack inserts. “The tobacco industry has evolved considerably since this lawsuit was filed nearly 25 years ago, back in 1999,” a company spokesperson said. “Today, Reynolds American Inc. and its operating companies have a clear purpose to build ‘A Better Tomorrow’ by reducing the health impact of our business.”