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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Ruling That Big Tobacco Purposely Lied to and Deceived the Public

Monday, June 28, 2010  
Christina Saull or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 202-585-3250 or 202-661-5711 or

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Ruling That Big Tobacco
Purposely Lied to and Deceived the American Public

WASHINGTON, DC—June 28, 2010—The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear appeals in the federal government’s landmark racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco industry, The United States of America v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. The American Cancer Society and five other public health groups are interveners in the case, which was filed by the Department of Justice in 1999 to hold Big Tobacco accountable for more than 50 years of fraudulent and deceptive marketing practices. The case before the Supreme Court stemmed from U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler’s landmark 2006 opinion, which found the major cigarette manufacturers guilty of violating civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

John R. Seffrin, PhD, the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), issued the following statement:

"Today the U.S. Supreme Court made a clear statement: Big Tobacco is guilty of knowingly and willingly deceiving the American public about the hazards of its products and engaging in egregious practices, including fraud.

"Big Tobacco has thrived for decades on the business of addiction by marketing to children and misleading adults about the harms of its deadly products, which kill nearly 440,000 people in America each year. While we are disappointed that the tobacco industry will not be forced to pay for the full damages associated with their conduct, we remain confident that progress can be made. As public health interveners in the case, we will work to ensure that the remedies ordered by Judge Kessler are fully implemented.

"Tobacco is the most preventable cause of death in this country, responsible for 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths. It is time for Big Tobacco to finally be held accountable for its deplorable actions.”


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

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