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Judge Orders Big Tobacco to Admit Deception

Posted on December 4, 2012

A federal judge has ruled that tobacco companies must admit in product warnings that they deceived the public about smoking dangers and manipulated tobacco products to make them more addictive.

The U.S. District Judge in Washington had ruled in 2006 that tobacco companies violated federal racketeering laws by scheming to deceive the public for decades about the dangers of smoking. At the time, she said that tobacco companies would be required to issue statements in various advertising venues about the dangers of their products and the industry’s deceptive practices. The case has been tied up for years as the tobacco companies raised objections about the wording of the statements.

In her most recent ruling, the same federal judge mandated that tobacco companies admit their deception and laid out what the “corrective” statements need to say. One of the statements was worded, “Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.” All of the statements would be prefaced with an explanation about the federal court ruling against the tobacco companies.

In other court news, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a Florida jury’s $20 million award against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Vector Group Ltd. (a unit of Liggit). In that case, a Florida jury had found that the two companies were responsible for the lung cancer death of a woman who had smoked for 40 years.

The refusal of the Justices to hear the joint appeal is viewed as a setback for tobacco companies, which have been seeking to limit the effects of the Engle decision. That Florida Supreme Court decision opened the way for thousands of Floridians to file individual lawsuits against the tobacco industry. According to Bloomberg News, there are currently some 8,000 cases pending in Florida courts.

The Jacksonville tobacco litigation lawyers at Farah & Farah in Florida think it’s high time that Big Tobacco admits to its deceptive practices. Millions of people have been sickened or have died of tobacco-related diseases. If you have questions concerning the current status of tobacco litigation in Florida, call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free review of your case.