On January 22, lawyers for Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Altria told a federal judge that they will appeal the language to be included in court-ordered advertisements “apologizing” for misleading the public about the health effects of smoking. 

According to U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, the planned appeal will mean the advertisements will not be seen for at least another year.  This would be the third appeal in a case that has seen two earlier appeals rejected by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

It has been seven years since the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia first ordered the four tobacco companies to issue corrective advertisements, after finding that they had violated civil racketeering laws.

Attorneys for the major tobacco companies and the Department of Justice earlier this month filed a motion providing notice that they had finally reached an agreement on how the court-ordered apology will be issued.  The motion included mock-ups of the advertisements.

The corrective statements say, among other things, that the four tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public about designing cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine” and to “make them more addictive,” and that nicotine in cigarettes “actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”

The agreement regarding corrective statements also provided, however, that the print, online and television ads will not have to run until after the tobacco companies exhaust their avenues for appeal of the order requiring an apology.  Based on their January 22 statement, it appears publication of the court-ordered apologies will continue to be delayed for some time.

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, at 804.697.1420 or by email.