RandyW Posted September 1, 2006 Share Posted September 1, 2006 Lung Cancer Alliance Slams Tobacco Companies: Demands More Research, Scans for Current and Former Smokers Thursday August 31, 5:51 pm ET WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to tobacco company data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health yesterday, Laurie Fenton, president of Lung Cancer Alliance, stated: "By deliberately and collusively continuing to increase the nicotine content in cigarettes to addict more people to smoking, tobacco company executives have been operating like racketeers preying on society and they must be required to pay the price of their actions." ADVERTISEMENT Fenton called their behavior "a disgrace" and said that "tobacco companies are basically producing drug delivery systems to addict people in this country and around the world to a product that is the biggest killer worldwide." Massachusetts is one of only three states that requires tobacco companies to report on the nicotine content of all brands sold in the state. According to companies' own data, they increased the nicotine levels over the years 1998 to 2004 by 10% and up to 30% overall with some of the biggest increases in brands most popular with young people and minorities. Fenton noted that the time frame of the study indicates that while the tobacco companies were swearing under oath in federal district court that they did not manipulate nicotine levels to addict more smokers, they were in fact doing just that. A federal court case, begun in 1999, was finally decided earlier this month when D.C. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler found the tobacco companies guilty of racketeering. In a scathing opinion over 1700 pages long, Judge Kessler accused the companies of engaging in conspiracy for decades in a massive scheme to addict people to smoking "without regard for the human tragedy or social costs." "The Massachusetts report shows how right Judge Kessler was in her sweeping condemnation of the tobacco industry," Fenton noted. "They are just that: racketeers." While the judge ordered the companies to cease and desist and to publicly acknowledge their marketing scams through a massive public education campaign, she did not level any monetary damages on the companies due to a previous appeals court ruling which appeared to tie her hands. "The federal government must appeal that ruling. These companies cannot be allowed to go scot-free," Fenton said, adding, "and if any out-of-court settlement is negotiated, specific funding for lung cancer research and early detection must be a part of the deal." "These companies should be forced to pay for independent research to support development of more effective treatments and for CT scans for those at high risk for lung cancer," she said. Fenton said that the damage done by the illegal marketing practices of the tobacco companies goes even beyond the addiction. "Now that the truth about the addictiveness and the criminal marketing practices of tobacco are coming out, it is time for a change in public health policy. Lung cancer is killing more people each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined-nearly 450 people each day, every day. The five year survival rate for lung cancer is still only 15% while breast, prostate and colon cancers have five year survival rates of 87%, 99% and 65% respectively. Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national organization dedicated to patient support and advocacy for people living with lung cancer and those at risk for the disease. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Lung Cancer Alliance Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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