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Tobacco Settlement Proposal Excludes Black Media

By George E. Curry NNPA Editor-in-Chief | 1/16/2014, 3:23 p.m.
The U.S. Justice Department and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund have reached an agreement with the four major tobacco companies ...
“The tobacco industry has gone to great lengths to target the African-American community over the past 30 years,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stated.

The judge prohibited the companies from committing similar acts going forward and ordered them to make “corrective statements” about the lies they had told about the dangers of smoking.

Kessler’s ruling was unanimously upheld March 22, 2009 by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. On June 28, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept an appeal.

Carefully-crafted “corrective statements” that include the wording, placement and timing of TV commercials and the content, type and size of fonts to be used in newspaper ads were covered in the agreement reached Friday. The statements will acknowledge that the advertising is being done under court order and that companies had misled the public on the health effects of smoking, the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine and the health effects of secondhand smoke.

The companies will also admit that they falsely sold and advertised low-tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes and designed cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine.

Under the agreement, each company will decide whether to place commercials on CBS, ABC or NBC.

“The TV spots will run a total of five times per week, subject to the availability of network time and upon approval of the network (s) on which the spots will air,” the agreement stipulates. “The five TV spots to be run each week will be run by each Defendant at its choice between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in the time zone in which the spot airs, between Monday and Thursday for one year.”

In the event the desired time slot is unavailable, the companies must continue to purchase spots until they have run the corrective statements at least 50 times and have aired a total of 260 spots.

For newspapers, the tobacco companies are required to purchase a full-page ad in the first section of the Sunday edition of each newspaper. Each ad will contain one of the five corrective statements in their entirety. The companies are also required to advertise on the newspapers’ web sites. Those same requirements will run in Spanish in Spanish-language newspapers.

The ads and commercials will state, “A Federal Court has ruled that Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA deliberately deceived the American public and has ordered those companies to make these statements. Here is the truth:” Texts, of the corrective statements will then be provided.

Under Judge Kessler’s 2006 order, ads will be placed in the following newspapers: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Charlotte Observer, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Florida Times Union, Fresno Bee, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Sun, New York Times, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Petersburg Times, Tallahassee Democrat, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Eastern Group Publications, San Francisco La Oferta Review/El Vistaz-Combo, NAHP, Chicago Lawndale Group News and NAHP Houston – Que Onda!