The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided that tobacco companies cannot be compelled to write on their packages that they have deceived the American population. However, they definitely can be obligated to state that their product is especially designed to cause addiction.
There was one main factor that facilitated the court’s decision on what was appropriate that the tobacco companies put on their packaging and what was not, according to the boundaries of the law. This was whether or not the messages are related to past or future offenses.
The most problematic of messages that actually fueled the companies’ decision to appeal the initial court decision was the one where they would have to admit to have “deliberately deceived the American public” in regards to the consequences that smoking has on health.
This statement was meant to be included in all of the companies advertisements. However, the court decided that this would not play a key role in the battle against smoking, as this needs to focus on future legal overstepping that the companies might make, rather than what has been done until now.
This is why they deemed it perfectly suitable that the companies include a message in their advertisements, where they disclose the fact that their cigarettes are designed in their entirety to ensure the addiction to nicotine of their consumers.
Every single part of the cigarette, from filter, to paper and the actual tobacco plays some role in enforcing the addiction. Furthermore, the chemicals used to make the tobacco blends also possess addicting properties.
This is why it is possible that cigarette advertisements will include a message where cigarette companies admit to having “intentionally designed cigarettes to ensure addiction”.
This case involved big names of the tobacco industry, including Phillip Morris USA, Altria Group Inc and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., that are the biggest tobacco companies on the US market.
It dates back all the way to 1999 and the Clinton administration, when these companies were accused by the Justice Department of breaking racketeering laws through their endeavors towards deceiving the American population in regards to the health implications of smoking.
The ruling in this enormous case came extremely late. It was in 2006 that the court finally decided that the tobacco companies had conducted a misleading campaign and therefore, they must inform the American population of this in their future advertisements.
This was the decision that was appealed by cigarette makers and that has been resolved now, making it a part-win part-loss for both sides fighting.
While tobacco companies are breathing easily now that they will not be required to present themselves into their own ads as frauds, the anti-smoking organizations are rejoicing that tobacco companies will have to publicly own up to the fact that their product is meticulously made to ensure that its consumers become addicted to nicotine.
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