Origins of the statements lie in a 1999 suit filed by the government against companies including RJ Reynolds Tobacco, now a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, and Lorillard, which was acquired by Reynolds and Imperial Brands. A permanent injunction issued in 2006 included the “corrective statements” provision, the wording of which was agreed upon in 2016. The statements are to appear for at least one year in a variety of mass media and company websites.
Altria, owner of PM USA, said the US tobacco industry has “changed dramatically,” over the past two decades, due in part to 2009 legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration broad regulatory powers over the industry, and the development of new products less harmful than cigarettes. “The way in which cigarettes are manufactured, marketed and sold has changed markedly since the lawsuit was filed,” Altria said.