D.C. CIRCUIT ORDERS DISCLOSURE OF SMOKING HAZARDS

In our long-running battle with the tobacco industry over its massive, decades-long conspiracy to hide from the public the health hazards and addictiveness of smoking, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ordered the tobacco companies to move forward expeditiously with “corrective statements” about the dangers of their products.  In 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, after finding that for decades the companies had violated anti-racketeering laws and deceived the American public about the egregious health risks of cigarettes and the purposeful marketing of them to children, ordered the companies, through television and newspaper ads and others means, to issue “corrective statements” concerning the health effects and addictiveness of smoking and second-hand smoke, the companies’ purposeful manipulation of cigarettes to maximize their addictiveness, and the lack of any health benefits from low-tar or “light” cigarettes.  Since then, the industry has fought tooth and nail to keep the disclosures from becoming a reality.  But now, after the latest ruling by the D.C. Circuit on April 25, it is clear that the Court’s patience is running out.  While ordering what the Court characterized as “minor revisions” in preambles to the statements, the D.C. Circuit said that the “district court can simply issue an order requiring the corrective statement remedy to go forward.”  In the litigation, we represent public-health organizations that were allowed to intervene in the case to ensure that the public’s interests are being protected, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.  A copy of the Court’s ruling is here and a press release issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is here.