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Terry Goddard Commends U.S. Supreme Court's Ruling on 'Light' Cigarettes

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Dec. 15, 2008) Attorney General Terry Goddard today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that allows smokers to use state consumer protection laws to sue tobacco companies for allegedly deceptive marketing of their popular "light" and "low-tar" brands.

"This decision is a significant victory for consumers' rights and for state consumer protection laws," Goddard said. "The tobacco industry thought it could mislead the public with its 'light' cigarette ads and not be held accountable under state laws, and the Supreme Court today said they are wrong."

The 5-4 ruling clears the way for lawsuits by smokers who allege that advertising for "light" brands deceptively suggest they are a safer way to smoke. Lawsuits contend that cigarette makers have known for years that these brands are not always less harmful and that many smokers compensate for the lower tar and nicotine by taking longer puffs and smoking more cigarettes.

Many of the best-selling cigarette brands today are labeled "light" or "low-tar." The biggest selling brand, Marlboro Lights, is made by Philip Morris. Its owner, the Altria Group, was on the losing end of today's ruling.

For more information, contact Anne Hilby at (602) 542-8019.