A federal judge has ruled that major tobacco companies in the United States must publicly admit they intentionally deceived the public about the dangers of cigarettes.
In 2006, the federal court ordered tobacco companies to take out advertising admitting they had misled the public about the dangers and addictive nature of cigarettes for decades. The tobacco companies have been fighting the public admission, saying it was a violation of their first amendment rights.
According to Reuters, Tuesday's ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia not only forces the companies to admit their deception, but also finalizes the wording of the advertisements.
In August 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the tobacco industry had engaged in a decades-long racketeering enterprise that deliberately tried to hide the dangers of smoking. In her ruling, Kessler said:
"Over the course of more than 50 years, defendants lied, misrepresented, and deceived the American public, including smokers and the young people they avidly sought as 'replacement smokers,' about the devastating health effects of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke."
It is unclear at this time if members of the tobacco industry plan to appeal this latest decision.