The Tobacco Companies are back in the Appellate Court after a Federal Judge ruled that they violated anti-racketeering laws by promoting lite cigarettes as safe. Judge Kessler wrote a 1600 page decision to support her finding that the tobacco companies acted the same as an organized crime syndicate when they promoted their lite cigarettes. And she also banned the cigarette companies from labeling their cigarettes as lite or low tar. The U.S. prosecutors on the case supported the Judge’s ruling and have said that the opinion reveals a decade’s long coordinated campaign to deceive American consumers about the toxicity and addictiveness of cigarettes.
Cigarette companies did get a break from the Judge’s ruling, in that it did not require them to return their profits from their activities. The companies found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud were Phillip Morris, Altrea Group Incorporated, Reynolds American, Lorrilard Tobacco and British American Tobacco. The ruling came down after seven years of litigation. You might soon start to see the newspaper ads that Judge Kessler ordered the tobacco companies to place across the United States in which the companies are to make corrective statements regarding the health risks of smoking. Next we will need to see whether the actions of these companies amounted to misleading their own investors. There has got to be someway that Wall-Street can make money out of this deal.