The Supreme Court decision has paved the way for a lower court to enforce penalties against Big Tobacco for inexcusable marketing practices that deceived the American public about the dangers of tobacco use. The high court rejected appeals from several tobacco companies for a trial court ruling that found them guilty of violating a racketeering law as a result of an ongoing campaign that misrepresented the health consequences of smoking and tobacco use.

The American Heart Association joined other public health groups and the federal government in seeking stronger remedies against the tobacco industry such as requiring the companies to fund comprehensive tobacco control and smoking cessation programs. However, the high court also declined to hear our appeals. In spite of this decision, the association remains strongly committed to holding tobacco companies accountable and urging elected officials to step up efforts to increase funding for evidence-based programs that will help smokers kick the habit and prevent adults and children from entering a deadly cycle of addiction. More than 400,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. Tobacco use remains a major public health threat and must be combated with aggressive legal and policy measures.

We call on the trial court to now enforce those penalties which include requiring the tobacco companies to publish corrective statements about their misleading marketing campaigns and the health hazards of smoking and secondhand smoke on cigarette packages and through media advertisements.

American Heart Association

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