Tobacco companies forced to run ads on Super Bowl Sunday

New ads reveal how cigarettes were designed for maximum addiction

(MGN Online)

The nation’s largest cigarette manufacturers intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive. That’s just one of the facts featured in new ads the tobacco industry has been court-ordered to run.

The tobacco companies have never had to publicly admit, until now, that they conducted extensive research to make cigarettes as addictive as possible, manipulating nicotine levels, making design changes like new filters and adding chemicals to make them easier to get hooked on.

To help make sure the message about the tobacco industry’s deception gets out, Minnesota health advocates are amplifying the tobacco industry’s ads to make sure more people will see them. This includes social media ads and other digital and newspaper ads in Minnesota.

“Things have changed in the media landscape in the 11 years since Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA were first ordered to run these ads,” said Mike Sheldon, senior communications manager of ClearWay Minnesota. “For example, the tobacco companies aren’t running any ads in social media, which is where the young people who could benefit most from the ads would see them. That’s why local health advocates are stepping up to share the truth tobacco companies don’t want people to know.”

Instead of starting to run ads back in 2006 when the ruling against them first came down, the tobacco companies’ team of lawyers filed appeal after appeal to avoid publicizing the truth. Now the ad plan is significantly out of sync with how many people get their information.

This legal case goes back far further. It has been nearly 20 years since the Department of Justice filed suit against the top cigarette manufacturers, revealing a conspiracy dating back to the 1950s to hide the harmful effects of smoking and keep making money.

The judge in the case stated in her 2006 ruling that the tobacco companies deceived the public, suppressed research and destroyed documents in order to protect their profits. She ordered the tobacco companies to run the ads to help counter these decades of deception.

In those 20 years, millions more people have gotten hooked on smoking. Nearly ten million Americans died since then due to smoking-related diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Think how many lives could have been saved if the public knew what the tobacco companies hid about how dangerous their products are — and what the companies did to make cigarettes even more dangerous,” said Sheldon. “It’s up to all of us to make sure the truth gets out about big tobacco’s decades of lies. Lives depend on it.”


—Information provided by