The U.S. state of Vermont has recovered $8.3 million in penalties under a settlement with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco over deceptive advertising, according to a VTDigger.org story quoting a statement from the attorney general’s office.
The settlement is the result of a 2005 lawsuit over the company’s marketing of its Eclipse brand of cigarettes.
A Vermont judge in 2010 ruled that Reynolds had intentionally misled customers through direct mail marketing, print and Internet advertisements, and advertisements on the cigarette packs that touted Eclipse as a reduced-risk cigarette.
One message said that because the tobacco in Eclipse was heated rather than burnt, the product produced less toxic smoke than did other cigarettes. That “may present less risk of cancer, chronic bronchitis, and possibly emphysema,” Reynolds claimed in advertisements.
Such unsubstantiated claims were found to have violated Vermont’s consumer protection laws and the state’s 1998 consent decree pursuant to the Master Settlement Agreement.
Reynolds was said to have made its deceptive “less risk” claims in print advertisements placed in nationwide publications, on a website promoting the product, in direct mail materials sent to Vermont consumers and on Eclipse packs sold in Vermont.
Category: Breaking News