Big tobacco have been forced to run ‘smoking kills’ ads – something that was to be done a decade earlier – thanks to a federally mandated ads.
People across the US opened their morning newspapers today to find full page ‘smoking kills’ advertisements from tobacco companies. The ads also state that cigarettes are intentionally designed to get people addicted. The newspaper advertisements will be published in 50 major US papers on five Sundays between now and March and will also feature in prime locations on the websites of these publications.
Alongside the newspaper adverts, big tobacco have also been forced to run television advertisements of duration 30 to 45 seconds for a year at prime time, five nights a week. The television advertisements will air on CBS, NBC and ABC between 7pm and 10pm on weeknights.
The newspaper and television adverts are a result of a 19-year legal battle between the big tobacco and the US department of justice. The “corrective statements” have been ordered by the US Federal Court and will be paid by Altria, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA.
Back in 2006 a US District Court Judge gave a verdict wherein it was found that these companies had violated civil racketeering laws and defrauded the American people. After a decade long litigation followed regarding the precise wording, font, format and locations of the corrective statements, terms have been finally agreed upon last month.
The statements contain messages about the adverse health effects of smoking that include:
“More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol combined.”
They also explain that smoking is addictive and hard to quit and state that the companies intentionally designed cigarettes to be more addictive.
“Smoking is highly addictive. Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco,” the ads say.
“Cigarette companies control the impact and delivery of nicotine in many ways, including designing filters and selecting cigarette paper to maximise the ingestion of nicotine, adding ammonia to make the cigarette taste less harsh, and controlling the physical and chemical make-up of the tobacco blend.
“When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”