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Del. high court sides with anti-smoking group in ad fight

By The Associated Press
07.18.06

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 Co.

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 states.

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 too far.

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.


Related

Tobacco industry bristles at Justice Department's proposed rules

Philip Morris official says some of the restrictions would place unconstitutional limits on free speech. 03.13.02

Federal judge won't dismiss claim that tobacco ads targeted kids
Cigarette companies had asked court to throw out portion of government lawsuit, saying they never marketed to children and that their advertising was protected by First Amendment. 02.25.04

9th Circuit tosses bid to stop California's anti-smoking ads
But dissenting judge says state cigarette taxes, used to help fund ads, 'constitute an exceptional case of government intrusion on the right not to be compelled to finance speech.' 09.29.04

Ohio high court: Tobacco settlement struck matchbook ads
State sued R.J. Reynolds over free matchbooks promoting company's cigarette brands, saying they were marketing merchandise prohibited by 1998 deal. 01.03.05

Justices turn away tobacco companies' appeal about ads
Reynolds American, Lorillard claimed California's tough anti-smoking ads smeared their reputations. 02.21.06

MPAA makes smoking bigger factor in film ratings
Motion-picture group will take into account 'pervasive' or 'glamorizing' adult cigarette puffing in movies. 05.14.07

Compelled advertising
Tobacco ads

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