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Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

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WASHINGTON — Big Tobacco companies return to TV this weekend, decades after they were banned from the airwaves.

The tobacco industry is under court order to advertise the deadly effects of smoking. A judge ruled more than a decade ago that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes. It’s the first time the industry has had to publicize the health hazards of cigarettes, which cause more than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

But years of legal pushback have blunted the message of the ads. And experts say the campaign’s focus on network TV and newspapers means the ads will not be seen by people when they are young and most likely to begin smoking.

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