US Cigarette Companies Lose Appeal In Federal Court

Cigarette companies in the United States will no longer be allowed to market tobacco products as “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light” or “mild.”
After deceiving the public for years cigarette markers were found in 2006 guilty of fraud and violating racketeering laws. That ruling was upheld on Friday in federal appeals court.

The companies must now change the labeling on cigarettes after the court upheld the 2006 ruling that “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light” or “mild” are deceptive terms and no safer than any other cigarette.

Today’s ruling also states companies must publish “corrective statements” on the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine.

The changes were not required while the case was in the appeals process.

The case was filed when President Clinton was still in office in 1999. President Bush’s administration pursued the case after getting criticism for discussing the weaknesses of the case.

CNN Money reports:

“We affirm the district court’s judgment of liability in its entirety except as to (the trade groups) CTR and TI, with regard to which we vacate the judgment and remand with directions to dismiss them from the suit,” the three-judge appeals court panel concluded in its 92-page ruling Friday.

The final ruling today was against the defendants; Philip Morris USA Inc. and its parent, Altria Group Inc.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.; British American Tobacco Ltd.; Lorillard Tobacco Co.; Counsel for Tobacco Research-U.S.A.; and the now-defunct Tobacco Institute.

The only company that was excluded from today’s ruling was the Liggett Group Inc. The court found that the company had come forward in the 1990s and admitted that smoking causes disease and is addictive. They have also cooperated with federal investigators.

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