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Justices turn away tobacco companies' appeal about ads

By The Associated Press
02.21.06

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal by two North Carolina-based tobacco companies who claimed California's tough anti-smoking ads smeared their reputations.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., now Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc., and Lorillard Tobacco Co. of Greensboro, N.C., had asked the justices to overturn a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that rejected the companies' claims that their First Amendment rights were violated by California's ad campaign.

California uses part of an 87-cent tax on every package of cigarettes to fund health education that includes a campaign to discourage smoking.

The ads included a scene where cigarettes rained down on children playing in a schoolyard as a voice, purportedly of a tobacco executive, announced, "We have to sell cigarettes to your kids. We need half a million new smokers a year just to stay in business ... It's nothing personal. You understand."

The companies objected to the state using revenue from taxes on cigarettes, effectively forcing the tobacco industry to pay to vilify itself.


Previous
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

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Tobacco users in class-action lawsuit had claimed they took up habit as minors because of companies' marketing. 08.03.07

High court steps into legal fray over 'light' cigarettes
Justices agree to decide if tobacco companies can be sued in state court over alleged deceptive ads. 01.22.08

Justices turn down smokers' lawsuit
High court denies cert on case in which California Supreme Court agreed with tobacco companies that federal law, First Amendment allowed their marketing campaigns. 03.18.08

Justices allow lawsuits over 'light' cigarettes
In 5-4 split, high court rules smokers may use state consumer-protection laws to sue cigarette tobacco industry for way it promotes 'light' and 'low tar' brands. 12.15.08

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