Tobacco manufacturers to say: “We’re sorry for killing you”.

[Primary news source: Newser]

The US Justice Department is moving to require tobacco companies to apologise to their customers and to tell the truth about how they lied to them over many years of tobacco sales which now kill 1,200 Americans each day.

The apologies the Justice Department is requiring include:-

“A federal court is requiring tobacco companies to tell the truth about cigarette smoking. Here’s the truth: … Smoking kills 1,200 Americans. Every day.”

“We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits.”

“For decades, we denied that we controlled the level of nicotine delivered in cigarettes  ….. here’s the truth. … We control nicotine delivery to create and sustain smokers’ addiction, because that’s how we keep customers coming back.”

However, Philip Morris USA, the Marlboro brand producer which is the US’s top-selling cigarette and its owner, Altria Group Inc.,  said on Wednesday they would fight back if the Justice Department did not back down. They say that the Justice Department seeks to force an admission of guilt under duress of a penalty of a court which would violate the constitution’s principle that an admission gained under duress is inadmissible in law. However, recent events concerning the trial of a Gitmo detainee who was tortured into admission of guilt and later on convicted by a court on the ground of the admission (see: https://dominicatimes.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/gitmo-detainee-gets-a-hammering-in-a-us-civilian-court/) puts paid to any such defence by the company and its owner.

The Justice Department’s proposal was precipated after it won U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s approval to place the apologies given by the company in court already,  in the public domain. The judge is adamant that the industry will need to pay for the various apologies and corrective statements in advertisements nationwide. She has not made a final decision on the content of the statements, their likely location and duration. She is due to meet with all of the parties today.

Judge Kessler had decided in 2006 that the dangers of smoking had been effectively and systematically hidden for many years and the tobacco companies, as a result, had  avoided paying hundreds of billions of dollars in compensation to the government for its relative health-protection advertisements and also consumers and passive smokers who have been affected.

Philip Morris has agreed that it is now conclusive that cigarette smoking is addictive and causes lung cancer, heart diseases and other serious diseases in smokers and also harms and kills non-smokers.

[Health & Medicine Contributor]

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