Judge Drops Gavel on Tobacco Companies
The good news for tobacco companies is that U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler
didn’t believe she had the authority to order them to pay major punitive damages
for deceiving the public about the dangers associated with smoking.
The bad news is the judge did find the companies guilty of racketeering and
has banned the use of terms such as light, low tar, ultra light or mild on packages
since cigarettes with these designations have not been found to be any safer
than those without the labels.
In her ruling, Judge Kessler said: “Over the course of more than 50 years,
defendants lied, misrepresented and deceived the American public, including
smokers and the young people they avidly sought as ‘replacement smokers,’ about
the devastating health effects of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke (second-hand
Discussion Questions: How will Judge Kessler’s ruling
that cigarettes can no longer be labeled light, low tar, ultra light or mild
impact tobacco company marketing of its products? What, if anything, will this
mean for retailers that sell cigarettes and other forms of tobacco?