Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

'Big Tobacco' Ad Campaign Against Smoking Starts

The agreement affects Altria, Philip Morris USA, Lorillard and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, according to the Justice Department, which gave a heads-up about the coming campaign this week.

And, crucially, the tobacco companies managed to delay the advertising campaign long enough that it now seems like a relic of an old era: As more people get their news and entertainment from digital outlets and streaming services, the ad campaign will air on network television and print newspapers.

Text ads will also run in more than 50 newspapers across the country, from the New York Times to local outlets like La Voz de Houston and the Northern Kentucky Herald.

The company confession campaign, which ramps up this weekend, will also report that nicotine "changes the brain", which makes it hard to quit smoking, and that with an average toll of 1,200 Americans per day, "more people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, auto crashes, and alcohol combined".

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As part of the 2006 ruling in the suit, which sought to punish cigarette-makers for decades of deceiving the public about the dangers of their product, the companies were ordered to disseminate "corrective statements" centered on the health risks and addictive nature of smoking. But tobacco companies held up the ruling through appeals, obtaining major concessions that, for example, let them avoid having to admit that they deliberately lied and manipulated in previous marketing campaigns for cigarettes.

"It's a pretty significant moment", the American Cancer Society's Cliff Douglas said. But they're not being placed by advocacy groups; they are being placed by the tobacco companies.

Jeff Stephens, director of government relations with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in OH, says ads will run in newspapers for five months and on primetime television, outlining what the science has shown for years. "Their continuing aversion to the truth is clear from how hard they fought the corrective statements, going so far as to seek removal of the phrase 'here is the truth'".

"The corrective statements only confirmed what the global health community has been saying all these years - that tobacco companies used deceit in marketing and that their products are nothing but deadly", NVAP president Emer Rojas said.

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