Submitted by Anne Landman on
The major American cigarette manufacturers, including Altria and Reynolds American, have lost their appeal of a 2006 Federal court ruling that convicted them of fraud and racketeering. A three-judge panel of the Washington, D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court's 2006 decision that the cigarette companies had systematically lied to the public in a 50-year conspiracy to defraud the public about the health hazards of smoking cigarettes. The Court also agreed that tobacco companies must publish "corrective statements" on the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, and stop using misleading labels like "low tar," "light," "ultra light" or "mild," since such cigarettes are now known to be no safer than others, because of the way people smoke them. The court said that tobacco companies "knew about the negative health consequences of smoking, the addictiveness and manipulation of nicotine, the harmfulness of secondhand smoke, and the concept of smoker compensation, which makes light cigarettes no less harmful than regular cigarettes and possibly more."
Jonik replied on Permalink
Who Racketeered ?
It is almost shocking to see a major news service call this industry "cigarette manufacturers'" instead of "Big Tobacco" or even the preposterous "tobacco manufacturers".
The term "cigarette" is still unacceptably vague and uninformative, certainly when it comes to matters of medicine, science and law.
In the use of the word "cigarette", like the word "sandwich", everything depends on what's inside. Despite residues of any of 450 or so US-Registered tobacco pesticides, and the still-legal use of radiation-delivering phosphate tobacco fertilizers, and the still-legal use of dioxin-delivering chlorine pesticides and chlorine-bleached paper, no media outlets have dared going to the next step of calling the products "Pesticide Pegs", "Radiation Rods" or "Dioxin Dowels".
One big problem is that the US Government knew and approved of everything the cigarette makers did for generations. No secrets really...unless you count the Government Mandated secrecy regarding non-tobacco cigarette ingredients and the various "trade secret" recipes each firm has. That is...no matter how untested or known deadly a cigarette adulterant may be, the information about that may be duly hidden in vaults with severe penalties if any official revealed those additives to the public...or even to criminal prosecutors.
For decades this government has permitted the manufacture of so-called "tobacco products" with no tobacco included at all, but, instead, many kinds of industrial waste cellulose camouflaged as tobacco to...well...defraud the public into believing they were buying and using tobacco. That remains, even during the current Anti Tobacco Crusade, as legal as pie...as no law requires tobacco in a cigarette unless the label says it's tobacco...which many do not.
If duped consumers presume it's tobacco based on smell, appearance, taste and texture, that's their problem. Caveat emptor. Bring your own bio-analysis laboratory.
Every crime the cigarette industry has done was done under the noses of, and with full (often silent) approval of the very government officials who now pretend to be "concerned" about the effects (mostly cost effects) of their very profitable past activities.
If any court convicts the cigarette makers of fraud and other crimes against the public, the racketeering charges must also fully fall on government officials and agencies who have been complicit all along for the sake of campaign contributions, "sin tax" revenues, or their own investments.