USA, by State
|Jump to full article: Bloomberg News, 2009-07-08|
Author: Joe Schneider and Laurence Viele Davidson
Altria Group Inc., the largest U.S. tobacco producer, and Reynolds American Inc. were accused in a consumer lawsuit of fraudulent marketing by claiming “light” cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes.
The suit filed by three Tennessee residents on behalf of smokers who bought “light” or “ultra-light” cigarettes in the state since Jan. 1, 2005, seeks class-action, or group, status.
The tobacco companies “have known for decades that filtered and low-tar cigarettes do not offer a meaningful reduction of risk to smokers,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint, filed in Nashville federal court yesterday. “Their marketing, which emphasized reductions in tar and nicotine, was false and misleading.”
The lawsuit is unsuitable for class-action status because a wide array of individual issues prompt people to choose light cigarettes, Jack Marshall, a spokesman at Philip Morris, said in a telephone interview. . . .
Altria and Reynolds were convicted of violating racketeering laws in August 2006 when U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler found the companies conspired for decades to defraud the public by marketing cigarettes as “light” or “low-tar.” . . .
In the Tennessee suit, Kaye Alcorn, David Alcorn and Tracey Alcorn, all of Davidson County, said they first smoked regular- strength cigarettes and switched to “lights” and “ultra- lights” because they believed that since those brands delivered less tar and nicotine they were less harmful.
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