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The United States had been lagging behind other countries where it comes to smoking related warnings. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had failed to update cigarette pack warnings for over 30 years, since 1984.

However, as of November 2017, prime-time tv in the US has been featuring court-mandated adverts against smoking. These segments are funded by Altria group which owns Philip Morris USA, and British American Tobacco PLC (BAT), and come as a result of a lawsuit against the companies.

The end of a battle initiated 20 years ago?

The corrective statements which will address smoking’s health effects, the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, the lack of any benefits from cigarettes labeled “low tar” and “light,” how the delivery of nicotine was enhanced by cigarette design and secondhand smoke’s health effects.
In the court case which was initiated almost 20 years ago, the big tobacco companies were accused of releasing misleading adverts, and were implicated for the false health claims they made about cigarettes in the past. The existing tv segments are between 30 and 45 seconds long, running for a total of 52 weeks, and will display court-mandated text accompanied by a voice narration.

 

Subsequently, starting next Monday, the same companies will be issuing similar warnings on their websites. The corrective statements which will also be available in Spanish, are expected to address five topics: smoking’s health effects, the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, the lack of any benefits from cigarettes labeled “low tar” and “light,” how the delivery of nicotine was enhanced by cigarette design and secondhand smoke’s health effects.

Big Tobacco has diverted its focus to safer alternatives

“This industry has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, including becoming regulated by the FDA, which we supported,” said Altria’s executive vice president and general counsel, Murray Garnick in a statement, when the measure was announced last October. “We’re focused on the future and, with FDA in place, working to develop less risky tobacco products.”

“We’re focused on the future and, with FDA in place, working to develop less risky tobacco products.”Murray Garnick, Executive Vice President and General Council, Altria

And indeed, these tobacco companies are investing heavily in safer alternatives. Only last week, BAT announced that it will be investing 800 million euros to bump up the production of its Glo Neostiks in its factory in Ploiești, Romania. Similarly, last March PMI announced that it has shifted the entire capacity of its cigarette factory in Greece to manufacture solely its Heets smoke-free products.

Read Further: CNBC

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