To woo smokers, most U.S. cigarette makers long ago abandoned the naive idea that smoking was a mere pleasure. Instead, tobaccomen puffed up ad campaigns with testimonials from athletes and movie stars, and plugged such slogans as "less nicotine," "soothes the nerves," "aids digestion," "relieves fatigue," "never irritates the throat," and it's important to the "T-zone."

Last week, after six years of hearings and investigations, the Federal Trade Commission labeled such claims false and misleading. For example, said FTC, tests made by the Food & Drug Administration had proved that "the only physiological effect cigarette smoking can have upon digestion,...

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