Watch: Big tobacco’s anti-smoking ads to debut on TVPosted: Updated:
(AP/Meredith) – Nearly 50 years after tobacco companies were banned from the airwaves, they'll be back in primetime. But not by choice.
"Smoking kills on average 1,200 Americans every day. More people die every year from smoking than from murder, aids, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined."
The new ads are a result of a 1999 lawsuit filed by President Clinton’s administration to recover billions spent on medical care for cigarette smokers.
A federal judge ruled in 2006 that big tobacco had deceived the American public for decades about the effects of smoking, and ordered them to publish "corrective statements" in newspapers and on TV.
It took 11 years of legal wrangling over the exact wording.
The TV spots – costing the tobacco companies an estimated $30 million dollars - will start airing the end of the month and run for a year on the major networks.
Anti-smoking advocates say the fact that media consumption has shifted dramatically since the ruling, means the ads won't reach an important demographic.
Experts say it's better to reach kids and teens early - nine of ten smokers begin smoking before the age of 18.
That's why many campaigns focus on a younger audience.
Ellie Mixter-Keller started smoking in high school and did it for more than 30 years.
"I will tell you quitting smoking is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life."
Knowing the dangers didn't make her stop. It was a combination of hip surgery, realizing she wasn't rebelling against anyone anymore and missing out on life.
"I remember very specifically I was going to a family reunion and realizing I was missing half of it because I was outside having a cigarette all the time."
This former smoker wasn't impressed by the new ads, but it will mark the first-time tobacco companies are being forced to advertise the deadly, addictive effects of smoking.
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