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Judge tells Big Tobacco to disclose deception on packaging

Case has been held up in court over wording of warnings

Cigarette packaging will be boasting some new text in the near future, thanks to a judge in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered Big Tobacco to include on their cigarette packages product warnings that the industry lied to the public about the health effects of smoking and manipulated the product to increase addiction.

The long-running case dates back to 2006, when Kessler found that Big Tobacco engaged in decades of public deception regarding the health effects of smoking, violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. As part of that ruling, Kessler required tobacco companies to include warnings on their packages and issue statements about the dangers of smoking. However, the case has been tied up in courts for years—mainly regarding what the statements should say.

In her ruling yesterday, Kessler ordered tobacco companies to include the following two statements, among other copy, on products: “Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction,” and “When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”

Read more about this case on Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

Read more InsideCounsel stories about Big Tobacco:

Big Tobacco doesn’t want to admit wrongdoing

D.C. Circuit rules against graphic tobacco label requirements

NYC can’t force displays of graphic anti-smoking ads

D.C Circuit hears graphic tobacco label case

Judge says Big Tobacco’s free speech rights were violated

Graphic cigarette warning labels blocked

5 tobacco companies sue FDA over ad requirements


Cathleen Flahardy

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