The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a court order forcing cigarette companies to display signs with corrective statements about the health effect and addictive nature of cigarettes in retails stores, reports Fox News.
The court order “resolves the government’s long-running civil racketeering lawsuit against the largest United States’ cigarette companies,” a press release from the DOJ stated.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 1999 with the trial taking place during 2004-2005 in which it was determined that the companies in question defrauded consumers regarding the dangers of smoking, reports Fox News. The latest court order imposes that last of several corrective remedies ordered due to that case, states the DOJ.
The court order that applies to Altria, Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and four cigarette brands owned by ITG Brands LLC, means the companies must require corrective statements to be placed in retails stores. The statements must be designed to be eye-catching and placed on coloured signs with messages pointing to the adverse health effects of smoking, the addictive nature of nicotine and the adverse health effects of second-hand smoke, according to Fox News.
The order comes into effect on 1 July 2023 and the companies will have three months to post the statements.
“Justice Department attorneys have worked diligently for over 20 years to hold accountable the tobacco companies that defrauded consumers about the health risks of smoking. Today’s resolution implements the last remedy of this litigation to ensure that consumers know the true dangers of the smoking products they may consider purchasing,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.
“This is an important moment in the history of cancer control in the United States. Smoking causes about 30 per cent of all cancer deaths in the United States, and therefore the court-ordered corrective statements appearing at the point of cigarette sale will help support our mission to reduce the burden of cancer. We are grateful to our colleagues at the Department of Justice for having completed this significant work,” said Associate Director William Klein of the National Cancer Institute’s Behavioral Research program.