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U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Light Cigarette Lawsuits Is Victory for Consumers and Health
Date:12/15/2008

Statement of Matthew L. Myers President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Supreme Court today handed down a major victory for consumers and public health by ruling that smokers can use state consumer protection laws to sue Philip Morris and other tobacco companies for deceptive marketing of "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes. Today's ruling poses a significant legal threat to the tobacco industry and is an important step toward holding cigarette manufacturers accountable for decades of deceptive and harmful marketing of "light" cigarettes. This decision, in a Maine case called Altria Group, Inc., v. Good, clears the way for more than 40 "light" cigarette lawsuits in more than 20 states to move forward. These lawsuits contend that cigarette manufacturers violated state consumer protection laws by marketing some cigarette brands as "light" and delivering "lowered tar and nicotine" to smokers despite knowing that these claims were not true.

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Today's ruling comes on the heels of decisive action last month by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prohibiting tobacco companies from claiming that tar and nicotine ratings on cigarette packs are government approved. The FTC found that the machine test currently used to measure tar and nicotine exposure (called the "Cambridge Filter Method" or "FTC method") is flawed, does not provide useful information to consumers and is likely to mislead consumers.

While the Supreme Court ruling and the FTC's action are important steps in holding the tobacco industry accountable, they also underscore the need for legislation pending before Congress to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco products and marketing. T
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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