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Vermont Judge Orders R.J. Reynolds to Pay $8.3 Million in Penalties And Stop Deceptive Advertising



 Vermont Judge Orders R.J. Reynolds to Pay $8.3 Million in Penalties And Stop
                            Deceptive Advertising

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement of Matthew L.
Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO)

A Vermont Superior Court judge this week ordered the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Company to pay $8.3 million for deceptive marketing of its Eclipse cigarettes
that violated both Vermont's consumer protection laws and the 1998 state
tobacco settlement, which prohibited tobacco companies from misrepresenting
the health consequences of using a tobacco product.  The order stems from the
court's finding, after a lengthy trial, that Reynolds made unsubstantiated
marketing claims that Eclipse cigarettes "may present less risk of cancer" and
other serious diseases caused by smoking.  The judge also issued an injunction
that prohibits Reynolds from making any claim that a tobacco product is less
harmful without strong, credible scientific evidence to support it. We applaud
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell for his leadership in pursuing this
case.

The Vermont ruling is a timely reminder of the tobacco industry's long history
of deceiving the public about the health risks of its products and making
false claims that certain products are safer.  It shows why Reynolds must be
viewed with skepticism when it claims to be a "transformed" tobacco company
that supports "harm reduction" strategies, which call for promoting supposedly
less-harmful tobacco products.  In addition to deceiving the public, Reynolds
continues to target kids with cigarette marketing, as shown by a new ad
campaign for Camel Crush cigarettes that has run in many magazines with large
youth readerships.

This case reminds policy makers that Reynolds' "harm reduction" claims are
nothing new and have previously been exposed as a sham.  Tobacco companies
have long made similar claims that so-called "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes
are less harmful despite knowing from their own research this was not the
case.  "Harm reduction" has usually been a tobacco industry scheme to sell
more cigarettes and other tobacco products, not to reduce the death and
disease these products cause.

The Vermont ruling also shows that Congress acted wisely in 2009 when it
passed the landmark law giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
authority over tobacco products, which included strict regulation of any
health claims.   The law established safeguards to ensure such claims are
supported by sound science and don't do more harm than good by encouraging
kids to start using tobacco products or discouraging current tobacco users
from quitting.  As tobacco companies roll out novel tobacco products, such as
electronic cigarettes and dissolvable tobacco, the FDA must act to regulate
all tobacco products and prevent unproven or deceptive health claims from
being made about them. 

Preventing continued tobacco industry deception is critical to reducing the
more than 400,000 deaths a year caused by tobacco use, which is the nation's
number one cause of preventable death.

Related Materials
Press Release by Vermont Attorney General 

Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Website: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org
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