Tobacco companies ordered to publicly admit deception on smoking dangers
November 28, 2012 -- Updated 1042 GMT (1842 HKT)
Tobacco companies have been ordered by a federal judge to admit that they deceived Americans about the dangers of smoking.
- Judge orders companies to post ads and package warnings
- One of last legal steps surrounding liability in long-running case against cigarette makers
- The judge previously found tobacco companies were guilty of racketeering
(CNN) -- Tobacco companies have been ordered by a federal judge to publicly admit, through advertisements and package warnings, that they deceived American consumers for decades about the dangers of smoking.
Federal Judge Gladys Kessler issued her ruling Tuesday in one of the last legal steps settling liability in the long-running government prosecution of cigarette makers.
"By ensuring that consumers know that [tobacco companies] have misled the public in the past on the issue of secondhand smoke in addition to putting forth the fact that a scientific consensus on this subject exists," said Kessler, "defendants will be less likely to attempt to argue in the future that such a consensus does not exist."
Read more: Clouds on horizon for tobacco farmers
Several other lawsuits over cigarette labeling are pending in federal court, part of a two-decade federal and state effort to force tobacco companies to limit their advertising, and settle billions of dollars in state and private class-action claims over the health dangers of smoking.
Woman's life is a warning for smokers
The judge, six years ago, concluded that tobacco companies were guilty of racketeering, and had ordered them to put tougher warning labels and other language in their marketing.
The litigation had been tied up for years over the wording of such labels, but Kessler said Tuesday the language pushed by the Justice Department was factual.
"Corrective statements" were ordered to be placed on five different areas, including: "Smoking is highly addictive. Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco" and "When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain -- that's why quitting is so hard."
Another mandated message says: "A Federal Court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about designing cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. Here is the truth: Smoking kills, on average, 1200 Americans. Everyday."
Read more: Court strikes down tobacco warning label law
Other areas deal with second-hand smoke dangers, and the false benefits of so-called "low tar" and "mild" cigarettes marketed by companies that included Philip Morris (a subsidiary of Altria Group, Inc.) and R.J.. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and Lorillard Tobacco Co.
A federal appeals court in August rejected the government's mandate tobacco companies separately place graphic images on their products warning of the dangers of smoking, with the majority saying the requirements were a violation of free speech. Such images would have included a corpse and smoke-infected lungs.
It was not clear if the tobacco companies would appeal this latest legal defeat to a U.S. appeals court. There was no immediate reaction from the Justice Department.
The case is U.S. v. Philip Morris (99-cv-2496).
Read more: Ruling shows 'big tobacco can be taken on and beaten,' Australia says
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories