Judge: Tobacco Giants Deceived Smokers
Posted on Aug 17, 2006
A federal judge ruled that the nation’s top cigarette makers have been violating racketeering laws and lying to the public about the effects of smoking, but legal restrictions prevented her from slapping the companies with billions in fines.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that the nation’s top cigarette makers violated racketeering laws, deceiving the public for years about the health hazards of smoking, but said she couldn’t order them to pay the billions of dollars the government had sought.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler did order the companies to publish in newspapers and on their Web sites “corrective statements” on the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine.
She also ordered tobacco companies to stop labeling cigarettes as “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light” or “mild,” since such cigarettes have been found to be no safer than others because of how people smoke them.