Monday, December 03, 2012

D.C. District Court Approves Corrective Statements for Cigarette Companies; Rest of the Story Approves Corrective Statements for Federal Government

Last week, the D.C. federal district court approved corrective statements that the cigarette companies must make - on cigarette package inserts and public advertisements - as one of the remedies in the Department of Justice's RICO case against the tobacco industry. These statements are intended to correct past statements of the industry that disseminated false or misleading information to the public.

Today, the Rest of the Story is announcing that it has approved a series of corrective statements for the federal government. These statements are intended to correct false or misleading statements that the government is currently disseminating to the public.

First, here are the corrective statements that Judge Kessler approved:

A. Adverse Health Effects of Smoking

A Federal Court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• Smoking kills, on average, 1200 Americans. Every day.

• More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined.

• Smoking causes heart disease, emphysema, acute myeloid leukemia, and cancer of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, lung, stomach, kidney, bladder, and pancreas.

• Smoking also causes reduced fertility, low birth weight in newborns, and cancer of the cervix and uterus.

B. Addictiveness of Smoking and Nicotine

A Federal Court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, and has ordered those companies to make this statement.
Here is the truth:

• Smoking is highly addictive. Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco.

• Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.

• It's not easy to quit.

• When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain - that's why quitting is so hard.

C. Lack of Significant Health Benefit from Smoking“Low Tar,” “Light,” “Ultra Light,” “Mild,” and“Natural” Cigarettes

A Federal Court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• Many smokers switch to low tar and light cigarettes rather than quitting because they think low tar and light cigarettes are less harmful. They are not.

• "Low tar" and filtered cigarette smokers inhale essentially the same amount of tar and nicotine as they would from regular cigarettes.

• All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, and premature death - lights, low tar, ultra lights, and naturals. There is no safe cigarette.

D. Manipulation of Cigarette Design and Composition to Ensure Optimum Nicotine Delivery

A Federal Court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about designing cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• Defendant tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.

• Cigarette companies control the impact and delivery of nicotine in many ways, including designing filters and selecting cigarette paper to maximize the ingestion of nicotine, adding ammonia to make the cigarette taste less harsh, and controlling the physical and chemical make-up of the tobacco blend.

• When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain - that's why quitting is so hard.

E. Adverse Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

A Federal Court has ruled that the Defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of secondhand smoke, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• Secondhand smoke kills over 3,000 Americans each year.

• Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke.

• Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, and reduced lung function.

• There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The Rest of the Story

Here are the corrective statements that The Rest of the Story has approved:

A. Serious Adverse Side Effects of Chantix

The Rest of the Story has ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services is deceiving the American public about the potentially fatal side effects of the smoking cessation drug Chantix, and has ordered the Department to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• The Department of Health and Human Services is intentionally deceiving the public by hiding the fact that Chantix use has been associated with hundreds of completed suicides and suicide attempts, not merely with suicidal ideation. On our smoking cessation page and detailed Chantix information page, we stated that "There have been rare reports of mood swings, depression and suicidal thoughts." However, we neglected to tell you that there have been hundreds of reported cases of actual suicides and suicide attempts.

• There are now at least 200 lawsuits that have been filed by the families of plaintiffs who allege that their loved ones committed suicide as a result of taking the smoking cessation drug Chantix (varenicline) or by plaintiffs who attempted suicide after starting Chantix. These cases were filed by a single law firm, which is investigating another 1,200 cases. Another firm is investigating 175 similar cases.

• We also failed to inform you that the use of Chantix by pilots, air traffic controllers, and commercial drivers has been banned.

• The Institute for Safe Medication Practices stated that: "We have immediate safety concerns about the use of varenicline (Chantix) among persons operating aircraft, trains, buses and other vehicles, or in other settings where a lapse in alertness or motor control could lead to massive, serious injury."

B. Evidence Regarding Effectiveness of Electronic Cigarettes in Smoking Cessation

The Rest of the Story has ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services is lying to the American public about the nature of the evidence that electronic cigarettes can be helpful in smoking cessation, and has ordered the Department to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• We lied to you when we told you that "there is no evidence" that electronic cigarettes can help someone quit smoking.

• A clinical trial in Italy found that even among smokers unmotivated to quit smoking, 54% either quit completely or cut down on the amount they smoked by more than half. 

• There is abundant anecdotal and survey evidence that electronic cigarettes have helped many smokers to quit.

C. The Presence of Carcinogens in Electronic Cigarettes

The Rest of the Story has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is deceiving the American public about its laboratory findings regarding the detection of carcinogens in electronic cigarettes, and has ordered the FDA to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• We told you that electronic cigarettes contain carcinogens but we deceived you by not revealing the level and by not comparing it to that of regular cigarettes or nicotine replacement products.

• We found only trace levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines in electronic cigarettes, comparable to those found in FDA-approved nicotine replacement products like nicotine patches and nicotine gum.

• The levels of carcinogens we detected in electronic cigarettes are orders of magnitude lower than in regular cigarettes, indicating that electronic cigarettes are likely much safer than regular cigarettes in terms of cancer risk.

• The minute levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines in electronic cigarettes are a necessary result of the extraction of nicotine from tobacco. Overall, these devices deliver nicotine with only a few other chemicals, compared to the delivery of nicotine plus tens of thousands of chemicals and more than 60 proven carcinogens in regular cigarettes.

D. The Cardiovascular Effects of Brief Secondhand Smoke Exposure

The Rest of the Story has ruled that the United States Surgeon General is deceiving the American public about the acute effects of brief exposure to secondhand smoke, and has ordered the Surgeon General to make this statement. Here is the truth:

• We deceived the American people by telling you that even a single, brief exposure to secondhand smoke is enough to cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.

• The truth is that it takes many years of tobacco smoke exposure to develop atherosclerosis and heart disease, even among active smokers.

• You cannot develop heart disease from just a single, brief exposure to secondhand smoke.

• We also deceived the American public by telling you that a brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause you to develop cancer. 

• The truth is that there is no evidence that a single puff on a cigarette is sufficient to cause cancer, and we are not aware of any specific cases in which this has occurred. We are also not aware of any cases in which a single, transient exposure to secondhand smoke has resulted in cancer.

• Cancer risk among those exposed to secondhand smoke is linearly related to the overall amount of lifetime exposure.

E. Flavored Cigarettes as a Gateway to Addiction Among Youth

The Rest of the Story has ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration are deceiving the public by stating that flavored cigarettes are a gateway to life-long addiction and that the removal of flavored cigarettes from the market will greatly reduce the problem of cigarette smoking among youth, and has ordered us to make this statement. Here's the truth:

• At the time they were banned, flavored cigarettes made up less than 0.1% of the youth market.

• Taking the few remaining flavored cigarette brands off the market had no appreciable effect on youth smoking.

• It is the non-flavored brands - the Marlboros, Camels, and Newports - which are responsible for almost all youth addiction to cigarettes.

• The only flavoring that is significantly contributing to youth addiction - menthol - is the one flavoring which has been exempted from our ban on flavored cigarettes.

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