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Deepak Dogra
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US tobacco firms to publish anti-smoking ads in dailies

  • US tobacco firms to publish anti-smoking ads in dailies

Major American cigarette manufacturers will begin publishing anti-smoking ads in 50 dailies to correct the misleading statements they made over the years about the effects of smoking, a move that complies with a court order filed in 2006.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced in a statement that the ads will fill the US media starting from November 30 and into the next year,

On November 30, 50 of the major US newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post will begin to publish full-page ads that should "clarify" to the public what the true effects of tobacco are, according to the department.

In addition, from the beginning of next week, TV channels across the country will start running those ads for a year.

The ads will include some of these phrases: "smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day", "smoking is highly addictive, nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco" and "cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction".

The legal case dates back to 1999, when former President Bill Clinton's administration (1993-2001) accused tobacco companies of deceiving the public about the risks of smoking and promoting cigarettes with cartoon ads to attract teenagers.

The accusations were based on a special law called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO), initially promulgated to combat organised crime groups like the mafia.

As part of that process, in 2006, the District of Columbia Court ordered the companies Altria, its affiliate Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco to place advertisements in the US media to "correct" the misperception the public had for years about tobacco.

The 2006 court order is set to be enforced from November 30, more than 10 years late, due to a large amount of counter-complaints filed by US tobacco companies.