Starting today, Central New Yorkers might notice commercials from tobacco companies airing during primetime on TV informing the public about the realities of their products. Tobacco giants were recently ordered to admit they’ve been misleading the public about the dangers of their products for decades.
"So it's pretty far reaching, and with good reason. The tobacco companies have defrauded the public about their product and the products are deadly and their products are addictive."
That’s the American Cancer Society’s Government Relations Director Julie Hart. She says the ads from tobacco companies will also dispel the myths of how certain products were marketed.
"Each focuses on different areas. One on the health affects of smoking. One taking about the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine. One talking about...I'm sure you've seen advertising for low tar, light, or ultra-light. There's no health benefits to switching to those products. One about the manipulation of the design to optimize nicotine delivery."
There will also be newspaper ads on select days through March with the corrective statements; however, the TV ads will air for one year. Hart says tobacco companies have been fighting the initial Federal judgment from 11 years ago and credits public health groups for pushing the issue. Hart thinks the ads will reinforce the science of what’s already known about tobacco.
"For decades, the tobacco industry has survived on the business of addiction by marketing to kids and lying to adults about the harms of its deadly products. Right now, Onondaga County is looking at increasing the age of the sale of tobacco products to 21, which they should absolutely do. This just provides further evidence that the tobacco industry has been deceptive, and we want to protect kids from that deception and protect them from this deadly addiction."
Last week, New York State began enforcing a new law which now bans e-cigarettes from being used in bars and restaurants and in the workplace.
"This is a big deal because e-cigarettes have undermined all the progress we've made when it comes to cigarette use and tobacco rates. Suddenly it's becoming normal. You'll be sitting at a restaurant, you look over, and it looks like they're smoking. They’re using an e-cigarette.”
Hart adds that if smoking is made easy in some environments, they’re more apt to do so and it seems the norm and very impressionable on young people.