Tobacco Ad Fight headed to court
A fight by cigarette companies for smokers' attention and money will be played out here in federal court this week.
The fight will determine whose banners, placards and hanging mobiles shoppers see and which cigarettes get the best placement as smokers and nonsmokers pass cash registers in thousands of stores across the country. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. say in an antitrust lawsuit that industry leader Philip Morris Inc. started an advertising program that is trying to monopolize sales and kill competition by coercively hogging advertising space in stores. Philip Morris already controls 53 percent of the domestic cigarette market, according to court papers. Philip Morris' top brand, Marlboro, makes up 34 percent of U.S. sales, the papers say.