Cigarettes Must Now Be Labeled “Deadly” Following Court Order

Cigarettes Must Now Be Labeled “Deadly” Following Court Order
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On June 18, 2018, a new rule went into effect requiring tobacco companies Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA to describe their products as “deadly” and “addictive” on their websites, and more regulations are on the way. [1]

The rule is the result of a court order handed down earlier this year which directs tobacco companies to issue “corrective statements.” The statements have to include 5 topics highlighting certain facts about smoking, including that it can be deadly, that nicotine is addictive, and that there are no significant health benefits to choosing low-tar or “light” cigarettes over regular ones.

Related: Tobacco Companies Again Ordered to Disclose Harm From Cigarettes

Tobacco companies must also explain the significant health risks associated with secondhand smoke, and they must reveal a particularly unsavory truth: that they have made concerted efforts to change the design and chemical blend of cigarettes in order to increase the amount of nicotine that smokers inhale to make them more addictive.

Additionally, those companies have until November 21, 2018 to include similar warnings on cigarette packages. [2]

“Corrective Statements” from Years Ago

In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the “corrective statements,” saying that tobacco companies “violated civil racketeering laws and lied to the American public for decades about the health effects of smoking and their marketing to kids.” Tobacco companies immediately decried the decision

After years of legal haggling, the 2006 decision also resulted in Altria and R.J. Reynolds paying for a TV ad campaign that launched in November 2017 in which commercials contain similar corrective statements as those ordered to appear on the companies’ websites.

Murray Garnick, Altria’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement released in October 2017, when the measure was announced:

“This industry has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, including becoming regulated by the FDA, which we supported. We’re focused on the future and, with FDA in place, working to develop less risky tobacco products.”

Read: 90% of all Tobacco is Full of Pesticides, Herbicides, and GMOs

The corrective statements published on the tobacco companies’ websites will run indefinitely. However, the corrective statements that will be added to cigarette packaging in November 2018 will run for a total of 12 weeks over 2 years.


[1] Time

[2] CNBC