Observations Tobacco Control

When will the tobacco industry apologise for its monstrous harms?

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g437 (Published 29 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g437
  1. Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney and former editor of Tobacco Control
  1. simon.chapman{at}sydney.edu.au

It agrees to corrective advertising after 15 years of legal kicking and screaming

Last week four tobacco companies finally reached agreement with the US Department of Justice to fund large scale corrective advertising about five areas of tobacco control.1 Each advertisement will include the statement that these companies “deliberately deceived the American public.”

The case against the companies began in 1999 and involved a 2006 judgment by a US District Court judge, Gladys Kessler, that the companies had misled the public for decades. Kessler’s judgment came in a Department of Justice lawsuit alleging that the four companies had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, an anti-racketeering statute. The companies dragged out the case for nearly 15 years, and further appeals are still possible on the wording of the correctives that they will have to pay for. These will appear in newspapers and on prime time television for a year.

Since the public release of some 80 million pages of previously internal and often …

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