The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 30, 2012

Our View: Shame on whom?

From staff reports

SEMINOLE, Okla. — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements that say they had lied about the dangers of smoking and that disclose smoking’s health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day.

Much like the old school-day punishment of writing sentences on the blackboard, this court order spells out exactly what the statements must say.

Each corrective ad is to be prefaced by a statement that a federal court has concluded that the defendant tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking.”

Anyone who doesn’t know that already has had his head buried in the sand.

The shame tactic might have some shock value, except it comes years and years too late. The consequences of smoking are all too well known, especially by smokers. How does ordering Big Tobacco to admit that it lied about the effects of smoking help anyone?

The judge, Gladys Kessler of United States District Court for the District of Columbia, wants the industry to pay for corrective statements in various types of advertisements.

How about the tobacco industry just pay for the chemotherapy sessions for lung cancer victims or defray funeral costs for those who died from smoking-related diseases. Wouldn’t that at least put the millions and millions of dollars that will be shelled out for “corrective ads” to good use.

As long as smokers continue to light up and the government continues to balance budgets on the tax that comes from a pack of cigarettes, the shame of smoking falls on all of us.

Write that 100 times.