Tobacco Companies Ordered to Advertise Smoking Harms

Last week, a federal judge ordered tobacco companies to advertise their deliberate lies about the harms of smoking and the addictiveness of nicotine, despite the companies’ pleas that doing so would “shame and humiliate” them.

“Deal with it,” said Lung Cancer Alliance President & CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose, who called last week’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler “the first step in putting the blame where it really belongs and in bringing a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to lung cancer.”

“Tobacco companies have been so successful in perpetrating fraud, hooking people as young as possible and portraying smoking as a rational choice that even public and private health organizations categorize lung cancer as a completely preventable disease,” said Fenton Ambrose.

“The result has been devastating,” she continued. “We continue to see massive and tragic loss of life, an entrenched “blame and shame” stigma and minimal research funding directed to this disease.”

“Patients are routinely blamed, whether they smoked or not,” said Fenton-Ambrose, “and the prejudice against lung cancer is so pervasive that efforts to bring the scientific breakthrough of life-saving benefit of CT screening to those at high risk are being undermined.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, taking more lives each year than the four other leading cancers combined.

Yet research funding for lung cancer has been consistently far below and its 5-year survival rate of 15% has barely budged since the War on Cancer legislation was passed forty years ago.

“Our commitment is to continue to hold tobacco companies accountable for their wrong doing and advocate for a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to helping those who have been victimized by these fraudulent practices,” said Fenton-Ambrose.