WASHINGTON — An anti-smoking group known for its edgy ads featuring teenagers
has won a legal victory over No. 3 U.S. cigarette maker Lorillard Tobacco
The Delaware Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the ads created by the
Washington-based American Legacy Foundation did not violate a 1998 agreement
between the tobacco industry and the states.
That agreement led to restrictions on tobacco marketing and the creation of
the foundation, which the tobacco companies fund through their payments to the
The agreement stated that the foundation could not vilify or personally
attack tobacco companies or executives, something Lorillard argued the
foundation had been doing in its ads.
Yesterday's ruling in Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. American Legacy Foundation upheld a lower court decision that found the ads did not
violate the agreement.
"I'm just delighted that this five-year unfounded action against us has come
to an end and that we have a license to save lives," said Cheryl Healton,
president and CEO of the foundation.
Officials with Lorillard, based in Greensboro, N.C., declined to comment
yesterday. The company previously highlighted several Legacy ads it thought went
In one radio ad, a person identifying himself as a dog walker phones
Lorillard and tells the operator he wants to sell the company dog urine because
it is full of urea, "one of the chemicals you guys put into cigarettes."
In another ad, teens show up at Philip Morris offices in New York, though the
company isn't identified in the ad, and announce that they have a delivery for
the marketing department. The delivery is a lie detector, and the teens tell the
company officials they want to clear up conflicting statements that have been
made about the addictive nature of nicotine.
The case was settled in Delaware because that is where Lorillard and the
American Legacy Foundation are incorporated.