Low Tar Claim Ruled Okay

Adweek: The Illinois Supreme Court handed Altria Group’s Philip Morris USA a significant victory today, overturning a lower court ruling that the tobacco company had misled smokers about the health risks of so-called “light” cigarettes.
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The original decision said the company had “intended to deceive consumers” into thinking that its Cambridge Light and Marlboro Light cigarettes were somehow less harmful than regular cigarettes.
A Madison County, Ill., court in March 2003 ordered the company to pay more than $10 billion—$5 billion in compensatory damages, $3 billion in punitive damages and $2.1 billion in interest. That ruling came in response to a class-action lawsuit.
But the high court said there was no intent to deceive, as PM acted on the authority of the Federal Trade Commission, which had allowed cigarette makers to identify their products as “light” or “low tar.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.