Tobacco Cos. File Appeal in Corrective Statements Debate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A year ago, tobacco companies agreed to publish corrective statements. But now, they are taking their fight to court over the wording of these advertisements.

In an appeals court filing on Jan. 7, the industry said the corrective statements ordered by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in a government lawsuit would only trigger public anger against the companies and should be scrapped, The Associated Press reported.

On Nov. 27, 2012, Kessler ordered the tobacco companies to feature the overarching statement: "A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking, and has ordered those companies to make this statement," as CSNews Online previously reported.

In January 2014, The Altria Group Inc., Lorillard Inc. and Reynolds American Inc. agreed to publish the corrective statements, but objected to the wording.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed Kessler to craft corrective statements confined to purely factual and uncontroversial information that would reveal previously hidden truths about the tobacco industry's products, the AP reported. However, the tobacco companies argue in their new filing that Kessler went beyond these instructions and ordered a series of inflammatory statements that require the defendants to denigrate themselves.

The companies added that in accordance with the appeals court's ruling, they stand ready to disseminate statements that provide public health information about cigarettes.

Arguments in the case will be heard Feb. 23.

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