On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered tobacco companies to admit publicly that they lied to the American people about the dangers and addictiveness of smoking.
Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the tobacco industry to release these statements in the form of advertisements and package labels. This ruling stems from a case that began in 1999, and found that tobacco companies were concealing the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke for decades. These statements are based on specific findings of fact made by the court, according to the judge.
The statements are required to state that smoking kills on average 1,200 Americans every day.
Tobacco companies will also be required to make a statement about the false benefits of "low-tar" and "mild" cigarettes. Several other lawsuits over cigarette labeling are pending in federal court, in an effort to settle billions in state and private class-action claims over the health dangers of smoking.
This ruling comes at a fitting time, as November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. More people die from lung cancer every year than any other form of cancer in the United States, and roughly 90% percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarettes. In 2012, an estimated 160,000 Americans are expected to die from the disease, more than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined.
Smoking is also the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with one in every five deaths linked to cigarettes. Over 45 million people in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.
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Source: CNN, "Tobacco companies ordered to publicly admit deception on smoking dangers," Nov. 28, 2012.