Tobacco Companies Have to Admit Deception

Cigarette-poisonsFor at least the next two years, tobacco companies will place ads that admit they have been lying. A federal judge has ruled that companies such as Reynolds, Philip Morris (a division of Altria), and Lorilland will start spending some of their advertising dollars to compensate for "past deception."

The judge ordered "corrective statements" to appear on cigarette packaging, as commercials on major TV stations, as full-page newpaper ads, and on corporate websites:

  • Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.
  • A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes.
  • Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.
  • When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain-that's why quitting is so hard.

Curiously, the media outlets don't seem to include social media.

The tobacco companies tried to omit words such as "deceived" in these ads, but the judge's order stands. Still, companies may try to appeal the decision.

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of the judge's decision: is it fair, or does it violate the companies' rights (as they claim)?
  • What impact, if any, do you think the advertisements will have on smokers or people thinking of taking up smoking? Could the advertisements influence some groups more than others? Which and why?
  • Why didn't the judge include social media outlets for these ads? What, if any, difference would this make?