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Low-Tar Cigs Class Action Suit

From the Wall St. Journal (subscription required), a nice summary of the Schwab case. This amusing (or sad, depending on one's perspective) case claims that low-tar cigarettes are, in fact, just as harmful as regular cigarettes, because smokers searching for nicotine take more and stronger puffs from them than they do from more potent models. Thus, the suit alleges, lo-tar smokers were induced to buy the "healthier" alternative because of false advertising. The plaintiffs are not making health claims, but seeking their money back on fraud counts.

Wait a second -- if they hadn't smoked the lo-tar cigs, what would they have done? Smoked hi-tar brands? Do the latter cost less? My feeble, insensitive mind doesn't quite grasp the logic of this latest tobacco suit.

The case is now pending in the Southern District of N.Y. before Senior District Jack Weinstein, who, in 1984, oversaw and "strongly encouraged" a $180 million class action settlement involving Agent Orange. Shortly after "encouraging" the settlement, Judge Weinstein rejected the suits of those who had opted out of the class on causation grounds. [I guess the judge forgot to tell defendants that plaintiffs' class suit was just as groundless while he was 'encouraging' settlement.]



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.