Big Tobacco Finally Fesses Up to Decades of Deception

Big Tobacco Finally Fesses Up to Decades of Deception

Big Tobacco has been Bad Tobacco for far too long, and they’re finally starting to admit it.

All the major cigarette companies must now publish “corrective statements” highlighting the health risks of smoking. The plan includes running 30-second spots on prime-time TV for a year and placing ads in dozens of major newspapers for several months.

All of this stems from a 1999 federal lawsuit that showed tobacco companies had lied to the public about the dangers of their product. (Yes, it only took about 20 years — practically a generation — for these companies to finally atone for their sins.) But the deception stems back to at least the 1950s!

If ever an industry deserved a naked, messy Walk of Shame, it’s Big Tobacco.

Let’s have a look at some of these statements:

“Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day.”

“More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol,
combined.” (emphasis in original)

Damning stuff, eh? Let’s go to the tape so you can see for yourself.

The messages are in stark contrast to the catchy TV spots, sexy billboards, and glamorous movie scenes that drew many people to smoking in the first place. Not engaging or appealing at all. It’s almost as if the tobacco companies are trying to make these corrective statements go unnoticed …

And then there are the newspaper ads, which are great if you still read a newspaper. Keep an eye out for these in the New York Times and other major Sunday editions.

corrective statements      corrective statements      corrective statements

The corrective statements were originally going to be much more direct admissions of wrongdoing. In their current form, they’re a gentle facepalm from the tobacco industry, not the self-flagellation they’ve so richly earned. Fortunately, through the magic of the internet we are able to glimpse what might have been had the feds stuck to their guns.

If you have to lie about or downplay the health risks of your product to sell it — as Big Tobacco did for decades — you’re probably in the wrong business. We at Halo are proud to say we’re in the right one — saving lives.

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Patrick Moody 66 posts

Patrick is overjoyed to be a professional storyteller, aka writer, as he’s terrible at math.

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