A U.S. federal court has given tobacco companies until June 18 to post a corrective statement on their websites about the dangers of their products and their efforts to mislead the public about those risks.
The companies were also ordered to include the statement on cigarette packages by November, according to the order issued Tuesday. It will also apply to any social media campaigns aimed at promoting cigarettes.
The corrective statements will state, among other things, that cigarette smoking causes on average 1,200 American deaths per day; that cigarettes are designed to create and sustain nicotine addiction; that low-tar, light, and natural cigarettes are no less harmful that regular ones; and that secondhand smoke causes disease and death in non-smokers.
The statements are part of a 2006 injunction against major U.S. cigarette makers to "prevent and restrain" further deception of the American people regarding tobacco use, a Justice Department statement said.
Three major U.S. tobacco companies, R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris and ITG Brands, have been fighting to weaken and delay the statements since 2006.