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Truth in Advertising: The Time is Here for Big Tobacco

Smoking is attributed to an estimated 8,900 deaths in Kentucky each year. (Julie/Flickr)
Smoking is attributed to an estimated 8,900 deaths in Kentucky each year. (Julie/Flickr)
November 27, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Big tobacco is coming clean about the dangers of smoking, and Kentucky health advocates are celebrating.

The tobacco industry began running so-called corrective advertisements on Sunday as a result of a 2006 judgment for lying about the negative effects of smoking, and for marketing its products to children.

James Sharp, managing director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Lexington, says the ads will run in newspapers for five months and on prime time television, outlining what the science has shown for years.

"For far too long, big tobacco has thrived on the business of addiction by marketing cheap tobacco products to children, and then, lying to adults about the harms of its deadly product,” he states. “So, they're going to have to talk about how they deceived the public, and how these tobacco products are indeed very addictive."

The lawsuit began in 1999, and Sharp says it's taken years of stalling and appeals since the 2006 ruling for the tobacco industry to finally correct the public record.

Some anti-tobacco groups are concerned that, because the ads are only in newspapers and on television, young people, who typically consume media online and whom big tobacco is said to target as the next generation of smokers, won't hear the message.

Kentucky's adult smoking rate of 25 percent is the highest in the nation, and smoking claims the lives of 8,900 people in the state each year.

Sharp says the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network will continue its efforts to reduce tobacco use.

"The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network advocates for at least a dollar increase per pack for cigarettes, because we know that the higher you raise tobacco taxes, the greater number of kids will not even pick up smoking as a habit and therefore, not become addicted as adults in the future," he states.

Kentucky currently has a 60 cent tax per pack.

The American Cancer Society was among the public health groups that reached the settlement last month with the tobacco companies and the U.S. Department of Justice.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY