A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling prohibiting tobacco company Philip Morris USA from making misleading statements or implying health benefits about its products, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Tobacco violated federal racketeering laws by deceiving the public about the risk of smoking cigarettes.
She required the companies to issue corrective statements regarding the dangers of cigarettes and mandated that they adhere to a number of advertising, marketing and sales restrictions (Kendall, Wall Street Journal, 7/27).
Philip Morris unsuccessfully challenged those injunctions several times. After Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which increased restrictions on tobacco companies, Philip Morris brought a new challenge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The company claimed that the new law made the previous injunctions redundant (Singer, Reuters, 7/27).
The appeals court rejected the company’s argument, noting that Kessler acted reasonably when she decided last year to move forward with the restrictions (Wall Street Journal, 7/27).
The judges said Philip Morris’ history of noncompliance with the restrictions factored in their decision, according to Reuters.