Starting July 1, 2023, nearly 200,000 tobacco retailers across the country must begin installing signs in their stores with “corrective statements” from the tobacco industry. This is a long-awaited result of a 2006 federal court case ruling in which major tobacco companies were found guilty of racketeering for deliberately misleading the public about the health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke and the addictive nature of their products. The signs are intended to correct the record on the topics the tobacco industry lied about and to prevent future fraud by the tobacco industry.
The tobacco industry spends the large majority of all of their marketing dollars in the retail environment – to the tune of over $7 billion dollars in 2020 alone, amounting to nearly $1 million per hour. And they’re spending it there for good reason – because they know exposure to tobacco marketing in retail stores leads kids to start using tobacco products and makes it harder for adults who currently use tobacco to quit. Now they must use the retail environment to also tell the harsh truth about the deadly products they aggressively market and sell and how they have lied about their health impacts for decades.
Read more about the corrective statements requirement on Countertobacco.org.
The racketeering verdict was the result of a lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice and six intervening public health groups: Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund (a 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids), American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and National African American Tobacco Prevention Network.