An interesting story here. The Department of Justice is urging Big Tobacco (RJ Reynolds, Altria and Lollilard) to admit that for decades, it lied about the safety of “light” cigarettes and that it lied about how addictive nicotine is.
These “corrective statements” are part of a 2006 federal judge’s decision that Big Tobacco had engaged in racketeering (while it was an amazing ruling, that judge unfortunately did not hand down any monetary punishment). This is part of their “punishment,” so to speak. This was a civil case, not criminal, so no one is going to jail.
The DOJ wants Big Tobacco to make its admissions in major newspaper advertising and on cigarette packaging.
Here are the two statement’s the DOJ is demanding:
“We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits. We knew that many smokers switch to low tar and light cigarettes rather than quitting because they believe low tar and lights are less harmful. They are NOT.”
“We told Congress under oath that we believed nicotine is not addictive. We told you that smoking is not an addiction and all it takes to quit is willpower. Here’s the truth: Smoking is very addictive. And it’s not easy to quit. We manipulated cigarettes to make them more addictive.”
Big Tobacco is of course resisting and will be submitting their own proposed statements to the judge. I hope the judge makes the right decision.