A divided [Illinois] Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission specifically allowed companies to characterize their cigarettes as ''light'' and ''low tar,'' so Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris unit did not improperly mislead customers about the health impacts of its cigarettes.
''If the FTC has specifically authorized the use of the terms .... PM USA (Philip Morris) may not be held liable under the Consumer Fraud Act, even if the terms might be deemed false, deceptive or misleading,'' Justice Rita Garman wrote for the majority....
Smokers who wanted lighter flavor and less tar and nicotine could get that through its light brand, prominent attorney and former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson argued for Philip Morris. It wasn't the company's fault if a smoker negated any health benefits by taking deeper puffs or smoking more cigarettes, the company contended.
December 15, 2005
"Light" cigarettes not a fraud.