Tobacco companies deceived Americans, says US judge

Cigarette butts in an ashtray in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn
A US federal judge ruled Tuesday that major tobacco companies that spent decades lying to the public about the dangers of smoking must now begin a public advertising campaign that admits they lied. The case of racketeering was brought to the Justice Department in 1999. US District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote that the new advertising campaign would try to right the “past deception” going back to at least 1964. The ad campaign could last for as long as two years. The companies are expected to appeal. One of the statements the companies must use states: “A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes.” Another says, “Smoking kills, on the average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.”

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