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Legal Obligation To Correct Misleading Ads

SMOKING BAN
feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - You know how when someone really makes you so mad that you don’t just want to sue them, you want to make them say “you were totally right. My bad”? Yeah, sometimes that actually happens.

“Here is the truth: Smoking kills, on average, 1200 Americans. Everyday.” Pretty blunt, eh? And not something you’d imagine a tobacco company saying. Except now, it’s going to be forced to put that exact statement on packages of cigarettes.

What? How? Why?

Usually when companies are taken to court, the company has to pay money if it loses its case. But when companies violate consumer protection laws by deliberately misleading the public they can be forced to put out public statements correcting the misimpressions they created.

Pharmaceutical company Novartis was forced to make corrective statements about its Doan’s pills, saying that Doan’s was NOT proven more effective for back pain. Listerine had to put out a corrective statement saying that it has NOT been proven to prevent sore throats. And now, tobacco companies will be forced to make corrective statements for misleading the public about the dangers and addictive qualities of cigarettes.

You can expect that big tobacco won’t take that court ruling lying down so it may still be years before your package of cigs is so blunt. But, at some point, the package might say what we already know. Cigarettes are not good for your health.

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