Supreme Court Allows Deceptive Advertising Claims of 'Light' Cigarettes to Survive
Posted on Dec 24, 2008
In a surprising pro-consumer decision that was handed down on December 15, the Supreme Court held that cigarette manufacturers can be sued under individual state consumer protection laws for deceptively marketing their "light" and "low tar" cigarette brands. In its ruling, the Court rejected the cigarette manufacturers' argument that the state-based lawsuits were pre-empted by the Federal cigarette labeling law, which gave the Federal government, as opposed to State governments, the exclusive right to regulate cigarette advertising that involves health or smoking. Writing for the Court's majority, Justice Stevens distinguished the Federal labeling law from these cases, and stated that the law does not prevent smokers from suing the cigarette makers under state deceptive practices statutes.