Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A Longitudinal Assessment of Corrective Advertising Mandated in United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.

Abstract

Due to the ethical breaches of tobacco companies over a 50-year period, a U.S. Court ruled in United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. that major U.S. tobacco companies had misled consumers and the government about tobacco’s addictiveness, effects of environmental (secondhand) smoke, marketing targeted at adolescents, and deceptive practices related to harmfulness of smoking. We address the actions of the tobacco companies based on the consumer’s right to be informed and values for ethical corporate behavior, and we draw from psychological theories and the smoking literature to develop our conceptual framework and test the effectiveness of the ensuing corrective advertising campaign mandated in the Court decision. We use a quota sample of 470 smokers and non-smoker participants in a longitudinal study to test the impact of the corrective advertising campaign on key antismoking beliefs from the campaign. Results reveal that the corrective ad campaign has not been successful in affecting smokers’ or non-smokers’ antismoking beliefs. However, differences are found between smokers’ and non-smokers’ beliefs about the adverse health effects of smoking, effects of secondhand smoke, and tobacco company deceptiveness, with these beliefs being stronger for non-smokers. Smokers’ weaker beliefs about the effects of secondhand smoke are viewed as particularly problematic, given the established health risks. We address the implications of the ethical breaches and the corrective advertising attempt to address the deception identified by the Court.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

  1. 1.

    In addition to viewership, participants responded to an advertising-related question assessing where they saw the corrective ad: “Where did you see the ads the tobacco companies were ordered to make by the U.S. Federal Court?” with response options of television, newspaper, both television and newspaper, or other. The effects were consistent regardless of from what media source participants reported seeing the ad.

References

  1. American Cancer Society. (2018). Tobacco companies must run court-ordered ads: statement of the American Cancer Society and other groups. https://pressroom.cancer.org/correctivestatement2017.

  2. American Marketing Association. (2018). Statement of ethics: Ethical norms and values for marketers. https://archive.ama.org/Archive/AboutAMA/Pages/Statement%20of%20Ethics.aspx.

  3. Andrews, J. C. (2011). Warnings and Disclosures (Chapter 15). In B. Fischoff, N. Brewer, & J. Downs (Eds.), Communicating risk and benefits: An evidence-based users guide (pp. 149–161). U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Silver Spring, MD.

  4. Andrews, J. C. N., & R. G., Kees J., Burton, S., (2014). How graphic visual health warnings affect young smokers’ thoughts of quitting. Journal of Marketing Research,51, 165–183.

  5. Andrews, J. C., Netemeyer, R. G., Burton, S., et al. (2016). Effects of plain package branding and graphic health warnings on adolescent smokers in the United States, Spain, and France. Tobacco Control,25(e2), e120–e126.

  6. Andrews, J. C., & Shimp, T. A. (2018). Advertising, promotion, and other aspects of integrated marketing communications (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.

  7. Berry, C., & Burton, S. (2019). Reduced-risk warnings versus the US FDA-mandated addiction warning: The effects of e-cigarette warning variations on health risk perceptions. Nicotine & Tobacco Research,21, 979–984.

  8. Berry, C., Burton, S., & Howlett, E. (2017a). The impact of e-cigarette addiction warnings and health-related claims on consumers’ risk beliefs and use intentions. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing,36, 54–69.

  9. Berry, C., Burton, S., & Howlett, E. (2017b). Are cigarette smokers’, e-cigarette users’, and dual users’ health-risk beliefs and responses to advertising influenced by addiction warnings and product type? Nicotine & Tobacco Research,19, 1185–1191.

  10. Brownell, K. D., & Warner, K. E. (2009). The perils of ignoring history: Big Tobacco played dirty and millions died. How similar is Big Food? The Milbank Quarterly,87, 259–294. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00555.x.

  11. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. (2018a). U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s Final Opinion: Summary of Findings Against the Tobacco Industry, https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/content/what_we_do/industry_watch/doj/FinalOpinionSummary.pdf.

  12. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. (2018b). U.S. racketeering verdict: Big tobacco guilty as charged. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what-we-do/industry-watch/doj.

  13. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. (2019). Camel cigarettes: A long history of targeting kids. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/microsites/camel/Camel_History.pdf.

  14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). Smoking and tobacco use: Quitting smoking. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm#dependence.

  15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2018a). Smoking and tobacco use: Diseases and death. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm.

  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2018b). Health effects of secondhand smoke. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm.

  17. Cermin, A., Berry, C., Burton, S., & Howlett, E. (2019). The effects of the FTC-mandated disclosure on homeopathic product purchase intentions and efficacy perceptions. Journal of Business Research,101, 47–58.

  18. CloudResearch. (2019). What is the MTurk toolkit? https://www.cloudresearch.com/products/turkprime-mturk-toolkit/.

  19. Cohen, J. B. (1996). Smokers’ knowledge and understanding of advertised tar numbers: Health policy implications. American Journal of Public Health,86, 18–24.

  20. Cohen, J. B. (2000). Playing to win: Marketing and public policy at odds over Joe Camel. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing,19, 155–167.

  21. Davis, C. D., & Burton, S. (2019). Making bad look good: the counterpersuasive effects of natural labels on (dangerous) vice goods. Journal of Business Research,104, 271–282.

  22. Dewhirst, T., Lee, W. B., Fong, G. T., & Ling, P. M. (2016). Exporting an inherently harmful product: The marketing of Virginia Slims cigarettes in the United States, Japan, and Korea. Journal of Business Ethics,139, 161–181.

  23. Diethelm, P. A., Rielle, J. C., & McKee, M. (2004). The whole truth and nothing but the truth? The research that Philip Morris did not want you to see. Lancet,365, 54.

  24. Dyer, O. (2017) US tobacco companies run court ordered advertisements. BMJ, 359 (Dec 1) j5613.

  25. Geuens, M., & De Pelsmacker, P. (2017). Planning and conducting experimental advertising research and questionnaire design. Journal of Advertising,46, 83–100.

  26. Hovell, M. F., & Hughes, S. C. (2009). The behavioral ecology of secondhand smoke exposure: A pathway to complete tobacco control. Nicotine & Tobacco Research,11, 1254–1264.

  27. Jamieson, P. E., & Romer, D. (2001). A profile of smokers and smoking. In P. Slovic (Ed.), Smoking: Risk, Perception and Policy (pp. 29–47). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  28. Kavanagh, J., Marcellino, W., Blake, J. S., Smith, S., Davenport, S., & Tebeka, M. G. (2019). Fact versus opinion: How the style and language of news presentation is changing in the digital age. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB10059.html.

  29. Kees, J., Berry, C., Burton, S., & Sheehan, K. (2017). An analysis of data quality: Professional Panels, student subject pools, and Amazon’s mechanical turk. Journal of Advertising,46, 141–155.

  30. Kees, J., Burton, S., & Andrews, C. J. (2015). Government efforts to aid consumer well-being: Understanding federal health warnings and disclosures. In M. I. Norton, D. D. Rucker, & C. Lamberton (Eds.),The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press pp. 530–563.

  31. Kennedy, J. F. (1962). Special message to the congress on protecting the consumer interest, March 15. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9108.

  32. Kozlowski, L. T., & Pillitteri, J. L. (2001). Beliefs about “light” and “ultra light” cigarettes and efforts to change those beliefs: An overview of early efforts and published research. Tobacco Control, 10, il2-il6.

  33. Knowles, E. S., & Linn, J. A. (2004). Resistance and Persuasion. Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

  34. Mays, D., Niaura, R. S., Evans, W. D., et al. (2015). Cigarette packaging and health warnings: The impact of plain packaging and message framing on young smokers. Tobacco Control,24, e87–e92.

  35. Mays, D., Smith, C., Johnson, A. C., et al. (2016). An experimental study of the effects of electronic cigarette warnings on young adult nonsmokers’ perceptions and behavioral intentions. Tobacco Induced Diseases,14, 17.

  36. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Research report series: Is nicotine addictive?. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  37. Netemeyer, R. G., Burton, S., Andrews, C. J., & Kees, J. (2016). Graphic health warnings on cigarette packages: The role of emotions in affecting adolescent smoking consideration and secondhand smoke beliefs. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing,35, 124–143.

  38. Noar, S. M., Hall, M. G., Francis, D. B., Ribisl, K. M., Pepper, J. K., & Brewer, N. T. (2016). Pictorial cigarette pack warnings: Ameta-analysis of experimental studies. Tobacco Control,25, 341–354.

  39. Paolacci, G., & Chandler, J. (2014). Inside the turk: Understanding Mechanical Turk as a participant pool. Current Directions in Psychological Science,23, 184–188.

  40. Pew Research Center. (2017). About 6 in 10 young adults in U.S. primarily use online streaming to watch TV. Fact Tank: News in the Numbers. https://pewrsr.ch/2y5UqT3.

  41. Pierce, J. P., Choi, W. S., Gilpin, E. A., et al. (1996). Validation of susceptibility as a predictor of which adolescents take up smoking in the United States. Health Psychology,5, 355–361.

  42. Public Health Law Center. (2018). United States v. Philip Morris (D.O.J. Lawsuit). https://publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/tobacco-control/tobacco-control-litigation/united-states-v-philip-morris-doj-lawsuit.

  43. Romer, D., & Jamieson, P. E. (2001). The role of perceived risk in starting and stopping smoking. In P. Slovic (Ed.), Smoking: Risk, Perception and Policy (pp. 64–80). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  44. R.J. Reynolds Marketing Memo. (1973). The following are the principle thoughts which I had..., April 12, 1973, Bates No. 500165434-5439.

  45. Sauter, E. T., & Oretskin, N. A. (1997). Tobacco targeting: The ethical complexity of marketing to minorities. Journal of Business Ethics,16, 1011–1017.

  46. Tangari, A. H., Kees, J., Andrews, J. C., & Burton, S. (2010). Can corrective ad statements based on U.S. Phillip Morris USA Inc. affect consumer beliefs about smoking? Journal of Public Policy & Marketing,29, 153–169.

  47. Thiel, C. E., Bagdasarov, Z., Harkrider, L., et al. (2012). Leader ethical decision-making in organizations: Strategies for sensemaking. Journal of Business Ethics,107, 49–64.

  48. Thun, M., & Burns, D. (2001). Health impact of "reduced yield" cigarettes: A critical assessment of the epidemiological evidence. Tobacco Control,10, i4–i11.

  49. Tormala, Z. L., & Petty, R. E. (2004). Resistance to persuasion and attitude certainty: A metacognitive analysis. In E. S. Knowles & J. A. Linn (Eds.), Resistance and Persuasion (pp. 65–82). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  50. United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection. (1985). https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DITC/CompetitionLaw/UN-Guidelines-on-Consumer-Protection.aspx (revised 2015).

  51. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). How tobacco smoke causes disease: What it means to you. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

  52. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The health consequences of smoking—50 years of progress: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

  53. U.S. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. (2006), Civil Action No. 99-2496 (GK), (Final Judgment and Remedial Order) (U.S. District Court), (August 17).

  54. Van der Eijk, Y., & Porter, G. (2015). Human rights and ethical consideration for a tobacco-free generation. Tobacco Control,24, 238–242.

  55. Wilkie, W. L., McNeil, D. L., & Mazis, M. B. (1984). Marketing’s ‘scarlet letter’: The theory and practice of corrective advertising. Journal of Marketing,48, 11–31.

Download references

Funding

This research study was funded internally by one of the author’s academic institutions.

Author information

Correspondence to Christopher Berry.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Christopher Berry declares that he has no conflict of interest. Scot Burton declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jeremy Kees declares that he has no conflict of interest. J. Craig Andrews declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendix 1: Examples of Corrective Advertisements on Network Television and Copy Used in Print Ads

Appendix 1: Examples of Corrective Advertisements on Network Television and Copy Used in Print Ads

Adverse Health Effects of Smoking

A Federal Court has ordered Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA to make this statement about the health effects of smoking.

  • Smoking kills, on average, 1200 Americans. Every day.

  • More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined.

  • Smoking causes heart disease, emphysema, acute myeloid leukemia, and cancer of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, lung, stomach, kidney, bladder, and pancreas.

  • Smoking also causes reduced fertility, low birth weight in newborns, and cancer of the cervix.

Addictiveness of Smoking and Nicotine

A Federal Court has ordered Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA to make this statement about the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine.

  • Smoking is highly addictive. Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco.

  • Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.

  • It’s not easy to quit.

  • When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.

Lack of Significant Health Benefit from Smoking “Low-Tar,” “Light,” “UltraLight,” “Mild,” and “Natural” Cigarettes

A Federal Court has ordered Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA to make this statement about low-tar and light cigarettes being as harmful as regular cigarettes.

  • Many smokers switch to low-tar and light cigarettes rather than quitting because they think low-tar and light cigarettes are less harmful. They are not.

  • “Low-tar” and “light” cigarette smokers inhale essentially the same amount of tar and nicotine as they would from regular cigarettes.

  • All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, and premature death – lights, low-tar, ultralights, and naturals. There is no safe cigarette.

Manipulation of Cigarette Design and Composition to Ensure Optimum Nicotine Delivery

A Federal Court has ordered Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA to make this statement about designing cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine.

  • Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.

  • Cigarette companies control the impact and delivery of nicotine in many ways, including designing filters and selecting cigarette paper to maximize the ingestion of nicotine, adding ammonia to make the cigarette taste less harsh, and controlling the physical and chemical make-up of the tobacco blend.

  • When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.

Adverse Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

A Federal Court has ordered Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA to make this statement about the health effects of secondhand smoke.

  • Secondhand smoke kills over 38,000 Americans each year.

  • Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke.

  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, and reduced lung function.

  • There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Examples of Television Ads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udvU9mClGoI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_10mn73clmQ

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Berry, C., Burton, S., Kees, J. et al. A Longitudinal Assessment of Corrective Advertising Mandated in United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.. J Bus Ethics (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04456-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.
  • Tobacco company deception
  • Smoking beliefs
  • Corporate ethical values
  • Corrective advertising