Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Judge Orders Tobacco Firms to Admit Deception

Wall Street Journal

ByBrent Kendall

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered tobacco companies to say in product warnings that the industry deceived the public about the dangers of smoking and manipulated tobacco products to increase addiction.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington, came in the final phases of a long-running government racketeering case against leading cigarette makers.

In 2006, Judge Kessler ruled that tobacco companies violated federal racketeering laws by engaging in a decades-long scheme to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking.

She required cigarette makers to issue statements about the dangers of their products that would appear on television, in newspapers and on product packaging and retail displays. But the case has been tied up in court for several years. Among recent disputes, the Justice Department and the tobacco companies have been at odds over what the statements should say.

On Tuesday Judge Kessler ordered the defendant tobacco companies to make corrective statements on five different topics, including the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking.

“Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction,” says the text of one statement ordered by Judge Kessler. Another says: “When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”

Each statement ordered by the judge contains a “preamble” that explains the court ruling against the tobacco companies.

Defendants in the case include Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris subsidiary, Reynolds American Inc.’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; and Lorillard Tobacco Co., a unit of Lorillard Inc.

The companies couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>