Philip Morris Removing 'Lowered Tar and Nicotine' Language From Light Cigarette Packages
BELLEVILLE, Ill., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Lead Plaintiffs' attorney Stephen Tillery of Korein and Tillery said today that Philip Morris's move to remove the words "lowered tar and nicotine" from packages of its Marlboro Light cigarettes underscores the v
"Philip Morris's decision to remove the words 'lowered tar and nicotine' from Marlboro Light packages validates the landmark consumer fraud judgment against the company," Tillery said.
"Philip Morris was found guilty of defrauding millions of customers by claiming that their so-called 'light' cigarettes are lower in tar and nicotine, when the evidence at trial demonstrates that this is not true. I think Philip Morris's decision to remove the words 'lowered tar and nicotine' from Marlboro Light packages acknowledges this fact," Tillery said.
Tillery said Philip Morris attorneys told Illinois Circuit Court Judge Nicholas Byron that the company was removing the language from all new packages of Marlboro Lights. Attorneys made the announcement at a closed post-trial hearing to determine the size of the bond Philip Morris must post to appeal the court's decision in Miles v. Philip Morris. On March 21, Judge Byron ruled that Philip Morris defrauded millions of consumers by claiming the company's "light" cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes when in fact they are more dangerous.
"The reason that I am confident we will win on appeal is that this is the first consumer fraud ruling against Philip Morris, and it is much more difficult for them to defend than personal injury lawsuits. In those cases, Philip Morris has used the personal responsibility defense and gotten off the hook for two decades. That doesn't apply in this case, where the court found that Philip Morris's products did not deliver the lower tar and nicotine the company promised," Tillery concluded.
According to evidence presented in the case:
(1) Philip Morris designed their Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights cigarettes with more ventilation holes that would reduce the machine-measured tar and nicotine delivery (in order to "pass" a lower tar/nicotine test designed by the FTC), all the while knowing that actual smokers would extract even greater levels of tar and nicotine for two reasons: First, unlike a machine, a human hand may block a
cigarette's ventilation which changes the chemical reaction of the smoke to make it burn more hotly and with more deadly chemical composition; and second, smokers engage in a process of compensation due to their nicotine addiction, causing them to inhale more deeply, hold smoke longer and puff more frequently to satisfy that addiction.
(2) According to the Massachusetts Benchmark Study (MBS) by Philip Morris published in 2000, studies of 25 identified toxic carcinogens in the tar of both Marlboro Lights and Marlboro Reds revealed that the Marlboro Lights contained higher amounts of 22 of these mutagens.
Based on the evidence, Judge Byron ruled that, "The evidence at trial demonstrates not only that Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights are just as harmful as their regular counterparts, but that these products are actually more harmful and more hazardous than their regular counterparts.
"Philip Morris's own internal research regarding compensatory smoking behavior demonstrates that Philip Morris knew since before the launch of Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights that smokers will adjust their behavior to receive the same level of tar and nicotine from these Light cigarettes as they would receive from their regular cigarette counterparts," the judge said in his order.