CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cigarette companies spent $12.4 billion -- more than $34 million a day -- on advertising in the United States alone in 2006.
But the head of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said he welcomes a federal judge's ruling earlier this week that major tobacco companies must run more advertisements -- this time admitting that they "deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking," the judge said.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered tobacco companies on Tuesday to publish an advertising campaign saying they lied to the public about the addictiveness of cigarettes.
The advertisements will run for up to two years. What type of media and how much the campaign will cost is still under consideration.
The tobacco companies will "no doubt appeal" the decision, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Gupta said, "it's important that now the federal judge is recognizing" the companies' lies.
"[Tobacco companies] are going to have to pony up and let the American people know that they did not have the American people's interest in their heart when they were trying to push a product on them, which is obviously harmful and may be responsible for millions of deaths," Gupta said Thursday.
Gupta said Kessler's ruling Tuesday is "a good step forward in understanding and trying to advocate for a tobacco-free West Virginia."
The corrective statements ordered by Kessler acknowledge the adverse health effects of smoking.
"Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every Day." is one statement the companies would be required to use.
Another -- "All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks and premature death -- lights, low tar, ultra lights and naturals. There is no safe cigarette." -- blatantly express the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
'Lung cancer synonymous with smoking'
Smoking cigarettes contributes to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent in women, according to the American Lung Association. Lung cancer is, by far, the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, according to the American Cancer Society.
Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.
"Lung cancer is synonymous with smoking," Gupta said. "Lung cancer has a very predominant cause. Smoking, smoking and smoking are the top three causes."
The leading cause of death and disease in West Virginia is tobacco use, according to the state Division of Tobacco Prevention.
Nearly 27 percent -- almost 10 percent more than the national average -- of West Virginia adults smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We know we are No. 1 in tobacco use across the country," Gupta said of West Virginia.
In 2012, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed (116,470 in men and 109,690 in women).
More than 160,000 people will die this year from lung cancer.