Coloradans Will Start Seeing Anti-Smoking Ads From Big Tobacco Campanies

<p>(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)</p>
<p>Discarded cigarette butts.</p>
Photo: Cigarette Butts, Smoking (AP)
Discarded cigarette butts.

The tobacco industry will start running ads this week in Colorado about the health dangers of tobacco products.

The ads are the culmination of a long-running lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in 1999, and come more than 11 years after a judge ruled that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes.

"They're required to run the ads five times a week for a year for a year, 52 weeks, and there will be a total of 260 TV ad spots,” said R.J. Ours, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The companies involved in the case include Altria, its Philip Morris USA subsidiary, and R.J. Reynolds.

Years of legal pushback by the industry over every detail means the ads will be less hard-hitting than what was proposed, The Associated Press reported.

Still, the new spots lay out the toll of smoking in blunt text and voiceover statements: "More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol, combined."

Last year, the adult smoking rate hit a new low of 15 percent, according to government figures. That's down from the 42 percent of adults who smoked in the mid-1960s.

Experts attribute the decline to smoking bans, cigarette taxes and anti-smoking campaigns by both nonprofit groups like the American Cancer Society, as well as the federal government.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.