publication date: Dec. 8, 2017

Guest Editorial

Tobacco companies finally have to say smoking causes cancer

By Cliff Douglas

Vice President for Tobacco Control at the American Cancer Society and an attorney with 30 years’ experience in tobacco control advocacy and litigation.

Annual School of Public Health Faculty photo shoot

 

These statements may not be breaking news for oncologists and other physicians, who should have been aware of the lethal nature of cigarette smoking at least since the publication of the first Surgeon General’s report on Smoking and Health more than half a century ago.

While the report generated front page headlines and led the network newscasts back in January 1964, the tobacco epidemic has continued, causing more than 20 million deaths in the U.S. in the decades since. Cigarette companies have persisted in using their legal, marketing, and propaganda tools to mislead and addict millions of consumers, including underage youth, for the sole purpose of increasing profits.

But now, strikingly, the four largest tobacco manufacturers are advertising the health harms of their products. Of course, they are not doing this by choice or out of a newfound sense of ethical responsibility, but because a federal court has ordered them to pay for publishing these and other ‘corrective statements’ in newspaper ads and TV commercials for the next year.

The American Cancer Society and other public health organizations played an important role in shaping the court-ordered public health … Continue reading Tobacco companies finally have to say smoking causes cancer

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