The Strategist

US court obliges tobacco manufacturers to run ads in newspapers and on TV

11/28/2017 - 13:31

Tobacco companies in the US had to comply with the decision of the court in 2006. Now they must publicize dangers of smoking in newspapers and on the TV exercising ad right and their own expenses. For 11 years, tobacco companies have filed appeals against this decision, which allowed them to postpone its implementation. According to some experts, now publication of such statements in newspapers and on television is less effective than ten years ago, due to the wide spread of social networks.

Lindsay Fox
Lindsay Fox
On Sunday, tobacco companies for the first time had to publish in the American media statements that smoking harms health, as well as information about the diseases that it can cause. We are talking about four large tobacco companies - Altria (the parent company of Philip Morris USA), Philip Morris USA itself, as well as R. J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard. They will now have to regularly release such statements in more than 50 American newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, as well as on such TV channels as CBS, ABC and NBC.

Announcements should be printed in newspapers every Sunday, the number of TV commercials should reach 260 per year, the length of the videos, the location of the statements in the newspapers and some specific wording are also stipulated.

One such statement reads: "Every year, number of victims of smoking exceeds number of those who died from AIDS, suicide, drugs, car accidents and alcohol combined." "Tobacco companies have deliberately created cigarettes with as much nicotine as they need to cause and maintain dependence," says another statement. "When you smoke, nicotine really changes your brain, that is why quitting is so difficult," says the third statement.

The US court issued the decision to publish such statements back in 2006. After that, the tobacco companies have been appealing against this decision for more than a decade, which allowed them not to comply with it. "The basic strategy of tobacco companies for everything, whether it concerns scientific research, regulation or litigation, is the creation of delays... The problem is that since then the technologies have moved forward. They are not obliged to make statements in social networks, because there weren’t any back then. But it's better than nothing, "said Stan Glantz, an expert on tobacco company strategies at the University of California at San Francisco. Matthew Myers, the head of the group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says that the struggle to force tobacco companies to publish such ads has been going on since 1999: "This is both an important victory and a disappointment." According to him, the tobacco companies "spent millions of dollars and ten years protesting the court decision, which required them to just publish truthful facts about their products and behavior."

Unlike most European countries, cigarette manufacturers in the US are not obliged to print information about danger of smoking on cigarette packs. Tobacco companies in the United States pay about $ 8.2 billion a year for advertising their products.