US Supreme Court says smokers can sue over “light” cigarettes

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 23 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a3120
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    The US Supreme Court ruled on 15 December that smokers can sue tobacco companies under state laws against deceptive advertising practices that suggested that “light” cigarettes were safer than ordinary ones.

    The ruling opens the way for a new round of class action lawsuits against tobacco companies in state courts. About 40 cases are pending in 22 states.

    The three smokers in the state of Maine who began the lawsuit did not argue that cigarettes were harmful. They claimed that Altria Group, the parent company of the cigarette maker Philip Morris, deceptively labelled its best selling …

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