Cigarette boxes to feature warnings that smoking is addictive, cigarettes cause cancer

Cigarette boxes to feature warnings that smoking is addictive, cigarettes cause cancer
The statements note that smoking is highly addictive, it’s not easy to quit, nicotine changes the brain and all cigarettes can cause cancer, lung disease and heart attacks. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - As the result of a lawsuit filed nearly two decades ago, cigarette boxes sold in the United States will now come with court-ordered statements specifying the harmful health effects of smoking.

Tobacco brands must put these so-called “corrective statements” on product packaging starting Wednesday. They began running them in newspaper and television ads last year.

"Corrective statements are essentially geared towards preventing and restraining future harm," said Mary Rouvelas, senior counsel for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The statements, which should begin appearing in stock between two days and two weeks from Wednesday, note that smoking is highly addictive, it’s not easy to quit, nicotine changes the brain and all cigarettes can cause cancer, lung disease and heart attacks.

"We want to make sure that the public knows about the harms of smoking. We want to make sure that it knows about the fact that the industry intentionally manipulated nicotine. There are dangers of secondhand smoke," Rouvelas said.

For the next two years, the statements will be placed on packaging for two weeks at a time, three times per year.

The Justice Department filed suit in 1999 against the country’s largest cigarette manufacturers and tobacco trade organizations, claiming civil fraud and racketeering violations over the course of more than 50 years.

In 2006, a federal judge sided with the Justice Department and ordered tobacco companies to issue the corrective statements. A 2017 appeal reaffirmed the judge’s decision.

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