Court-ordered tobacco ads will include black media
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's tobacco companies and the Justice Department are including media outlets that target more of the black community in court-ordered advertisements that say the cigarette makers lied about the dangers of smoking, according to a brief filed in U.S. District Court in Washington on Wednesday.
The advertisements are part of a case the government brought in 1999 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in 2006 that the nation's largest cigarette makers concealed the dangers of smoking for decades and ordered them to pay for corrective statements in various advertisements in newspapers, as well as on TV, websites and cigarette pack inserts.
The companies involved in the case include Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., owner of the biggest U.S. tobacco company, Philip Morris USA; No. 2 cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., owned by Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc.; and No. 3 cigarette maker Lorillard Inc., based in Greensboro, N.C.
Wednesday's briefing revises a January agreement outlining the details of those ads to address concerns raised by the judge and black media groups, which argued the ads, should be disseminated through their outlets because the black community has been disproportionally targeted by tobacco companies. The court must still approve the agreement, which was signed off on by several public health groups that intervened in the case.