US Court of Appeals Affirms 2006 ruling that found Big Tobacco guilty of fraud

False descriptors-"light", "mild" and "low tar"

False descriptors-"light", "mild" and "low tar"

The verdict is in on the landmark “Racketeering” Appeals Court case- US v Philip Morris. The US Appeals Court has unanimously upheld a 2006 landmark federal court ruling that found tobacco companies  including Philip Morris USA (Altria) guilty of  fraud, deceit  and violated civil racketeering laws by falsely denying the dangers and addictiveness of cigarette smoking, falsely denying that they marketed their deadly products to children and misrepresenting that “low tar” and “light” cigarettes had fewer health risks.

According to the Appeals court ruling: “Defendants knew of their falsity at the time and made the statements with the intent to deceive.”

The tobacco companies implicated were Philip Morris USA (and Altria), British American Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp and Lorillard Tobacco.

Liggett was excluded from the ruling after admitting in the 1990’s that smoking causes disease and is addictive and cooperating with investigative authorities. Also excluded from the judgement were the Council for Tobacco Research-USA and Tobacco Institute  as they had not made or sold tobacco products.

The 2006 ruling banned deceptive labels such as “mild”, “low tar,”  and “light” and required the companies to publish “corrective statements”, however, this was not put into effect due to the appeals process.



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