Justice Department Wants Big Tobacco To Admit Its Products Are Deadly

The Justice Department wants major tobacco companies to admit its products cause 1,200 Americans to die every day, and also that it misled consumers with advertisements that “light” and low-tar” cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes.

The AP reports the government is asking a federal judge to force the companies to create ads that that include some of several proposed statements, one of which starts “We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits.”

The statements would be labeled “paid for” by a cigarette manufacturer “under order of a federal district court.”

A rep from Philip Morris USA’s parent company, Altria Group Inc., balked at the proposal, saying the statements aren’t fully supported by facts and the order to create the ads would cross legal boundaries: “Such a proposal is unprecedented in our legal system and would violate basic constitutional and statutory standards.”

Phillip Morris did release a statement that said the company agrees with scientific findings that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and other health problems.

Government wants admissions from tobacco companies [AP via The Houston Chronicle]