WBEZ | cigarettes http://www.wbez.org/tags/cigarettes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Supreme Court hears $10B Phillip Morris appeal http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-supreme-court-hears-10b-phillip-morris-appeal-112054 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/6447341369_db970e431f_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The fate of a $10.1 billion class-action judgment against the nation&#39;s largest cigarette maker is in the hands of justices at the Illinois Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments Tuesday in Phillip Morris USA&#39;s appeal to have the on-again, off-again verdict struck down.</p><p>The more than decade-old lawsuit &mdash; one of the nation&#39;s first to accuse a tobacco company of consumer fraud &mdash; claimed that Phillip Morris deceptively marketed &quot;light&quot; and &quot;low-tar&quot; cigarettes as a healthier alternative.</p><p>The initial Madison County trial ended in 2003 with the multibillion dollar verdict against Phillip Morris, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Altria Group Inc. The state&#39;s high court threw it out in 2005 only to have Illinois&#39; 5th District Appellate Court reinstate the verdict last year.</p><p>An attorney representing the hundreds of thousands of Illinois smokers asked the panel Tuesday to reject Phillip Morris&#39; appeal and let the judgment stand. David Frederick said the cigarette giant had carried out a &quot;massive fraud&quot; that &quot;light&quot; cigarettes &quot;were safer or healthier.&quot;</p><p>But former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson, one of two lawyers representing Phillip Morris during the 50-minute hearing, argued that the Illinois Supreme Court got it right ten years ago when it decided to jettison the trial court&#39;s verdict.</p><p>&quot;And that judgment is correct today,&quot; he said.</p><p>The core dispute has been whether the Federal Trade Commission allowed cigarette makers to label cigarettes &quot;light&quot; and &quot;low-tar,&quot; effectively shielding Phillip Morris from such suits. Phillip Morris says the FTC did give it permission to label cigarettes that way. But plaintiffs argued FTC didn&#39;t give its OK and it alleges that an agency decision in recent years confirmed that interpretation.</p><p>Thompson, though, said plaintiffs shouldn&#39;t be allowed to offer up new evidence of federal regulators&#39; intent so many years later.</p><p>&quot;Surely this is not a game of musical chairs depending on who sits in the chair of the FTC at any time,&quot; he said at the hearing.</p><p>The lawsuit sought compensation, not for damage to a smoker&#39;s health, but for the money they paid for what they thought were safer cigarettes based on the Phillip Morris advertising.</p><p>The hearing was held in Springfield and also broadcast live online. A ruling is likely to take at least several weeks.</p><p>Lloyd Karmeier was among the justices on Tuesday&#39;s panel. The plaintiffs had asked him to recuse himself because they say there could be a perception of bias in favor of Phillip Morris, based on reports the company gave money to groups backing his election to the bench.</p><p>In a 16-page explanation last year for why he wouldn&#39;t take himself off the case, Karmeier said the plaintiffs&#39; attorneys had offered no evidence to support a view he couldn&#39;t be even-handed.</p><p>&quot;Rumor, speculation, belief, conclusion, suspicion, opinion or similar non-factual matter are not sufficient,&quot; he wrote.</p></p> Tue, 19 May 2015 16:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-supreme-court-hears-10b-phillip-morris-appeal-112054 Illinois judge rejects bid to revive cigarette lawsuit http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-judge-rejects-bid-revive-cigarette-lawsuit-104364 <p><p>An Illinois judge has refused to reopen a class-action lawsuit that produced a $10.1 billion verdict against cigarette-maker Philip Morris, handing the plaintiffs their latest setback in legal action now more than a decade old.</p><p>It was not immediately clear Thursday whether Stephen Tillery, the St. Louis attorney who pursued the lawsuit involving so-called &quot;light&quot; and &quot;low tar&quot; cigarettes, would appeal Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth&#39;s ruling. Messages left with Tillery&#39;s office were not returned.</p><p>A now-retired Madison County judge found in 2003 that Philip Morris misled customers about &quot;light&quot; and &quot;low tar&quot; cigarettes and broke Illinois law by marketing them as safer. His decision ended a two-month trial that both sides said at the time was the nation&#39;s first involving a lawsuit accusing a tobacco company of consumer fraud.</p><p>The Illinois Supreme Court later threw out that verdict, saying the Federal Trade Commission allowed companies to characterize or label their cigarettes as &quot;light&quot; and &quot;low tar,&quot; so Philip Morris could not be held liable under state law even if such terms could be found false or misleading.</p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court let that ruling stand in late 2006, and Byron dismissed the case the next month. But in December 2008, the nation&#39;s high court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Maine residents that smokers may use state consumer protection laws to sue cigarette makers for the way they promote &quot;light&quot; and &quot;low tar&quot; brands.</p><p>An Illinois appellate court cleared the way last year for Tillery to argue that that ruling could be applied to reinstate the Illinois one. But Ruth ruled against Tillery on Wednesday, leaving it up to the attorney to take the matter to Illinois appellate courts, including the state&#39;s supreme court.</p><p>&quot;The trial court correctly recognized that the plaintiffs could not meet their burden of proof to reopen the judgment,&quot; Murray Garnick, senior vice president and associate general counsel for Altria Client Services, which represents Altria Group Inc. subsidiary Philip Morris USA, said in a statement. &quot;Specifically, the plaintiffs did not show that they would have been successful before the Illinois Supreme Court.&quot;</p><p>The class-action lawsuit involves 1.1 million people who bought &quot;light&quot; cigarettes in Illinois.</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 11:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-judge-rejects-bid-revive-cigarette-lawsuit-104364 Cook County cracks down on cigarette-tax dodgers http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-cracks-down-cigarette-tax-dodgers-92691 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/cigarette.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County has found a new way to make money: by cracking down on stores that aren't paying cigarette taxes. At the urging of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office, the sheriff's office has fined retailers almost $400,000 in the first three weeks of the project. In 2010, the county collected $1.6 million for the entire year.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart said Friday that in 2006, the county made $200 million from cigarette taxes. But in 2010, that number was down to $126 million. That $74 million decrease can't just be attributed to factors like the struggling economy and tighter regulations on smoking, reasoned Preckwinkle.</p><p>"This is not insignificant money," said Dart. "So for those who might think, oh we've grabbed a couple of cigarettes here, not a big deal. The numbers are somewhat staggering."</p><p>Though the Department of Revenue upped their investigations into those avoiding the Tobacco Ordinance by starting the Tobacco Investigation Unit in 2009. But it was the addition of five officers from the Sheriff's office that has led Preckwinkle to express confidence that fines could bring in money for the cash-strapped county. They plan to up that number to 10 officers by 2012.</p><p>"Two-thirds of our budget is healthcare and criminal justice, public safety," said Preckwinkle. "So, to the extent that we're able to increase, and hopefully increase dramatically, compliance in this area, it'll have an impact on our ability to deliver services in those two critical areas that are our responsibility."</p><p>The Sheriff's office has also received a grant of $25,000 in "seed money" from various cigarette companies to help them pinpoint those illegally counterfeiting cigarettes.</p><p>Dart said smaller, less established convenience stores are typically the retailers that charge the full price for cigarettes, including taxes, and pocket the difference.&nbsp;Tax on a pack of cigarettes in Cook County in $2.</p><p>Because the county hasn't collected the money yet, Preckwinkle said it's too early to consider it viable for her new budget plan, due in October.</p><p>Offenders have the choice of attending an administrative hearing, or simply paying the fine upfront. The county has also started a Cigarette Tax Reward Program, which asks Chicagoans to report retailers they believe aren't paying their taxes, denotable by the abscence of a Cigarette Tax Stamp on the bottom of packs. Successful tips can yield up to $1,000.</p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 18:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-cracks-down-cigarette-tax-dodgers-92691 Be warned: FDA unveils graphic cigarette labels http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-21/be-warned-fda-unveils-graphic-cigarette-labels-88117 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-21/04-high-res-pack_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Everybody knew the graphic new cigarette labels the Food and Drug Administration would be disturbing. But the <a href="http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/CigaretteWarningLabels/ucm259214.htm">nine selected by the agency</a> may still startle you.</p><p>The whole idea is that the labels will grab people by the lapels and be the visual equivalent of someone yelling: "Stop smoking!"</p><p>And, for the most part, the labels unveiled by the agency today live up to the advanced billing. Check out the ravaged teeth and damaged lip in the label on the left for starters.</p><p>Beginning in Sept. 2012, cigarette makers will have to give up the top half on their packages to display the nine images in rotation. In ads, 20 percent of the real estate at the top of the ads will have to be devoted to a graphic warning.</p><p></p><p>Since the '80s, cigarette packs have featured boxed safety warnings that were more of a whisper. Next year, they'll carry the hard-hitting visuals, a rotating set of text warnings, such as "Cigarettes cause cancer," and a toll-free telephone number for smokers who want help quitting. One of the new images is more encouraging that rest; it shows a young, bald man wearing an "I Quit" t-shirt.</p><p>Will the starker warnings work? The FDA predicts the new labels will cut the ranks of smokers by 213,000 in 2013, with smaller reductions in later years.</p><p>And in Canada, which has had tougher labeling for decades, graphic images have <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/05/27/131213322/">helped increase smokers' motivation to quit</a>. Even so, as the University of Ottawa's David Sweanor told NPR last November, smoking hasn't declined quite as much as some people had hoped because of inadequate access to smoking cessation programs.</p><p>Some <a href="http://www.coband.org/docs/morbid.pdf">research</a> has suggested that graphic warnings may actually reinforce the habit among smokers whose self-esteem is tied to it. But the <a href="http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2010-N-0568-0001;oldLink=false">FDA has its own research</a>, involving 18,000 people, backing up the labels and their likely effect.</p><p>Late last year, Shots and Thomson Reuters asked Americans about the FDA's proposed graphic warnings. Fifty-four percent people surveyed supported the FDA proposed to deter smoking. About 24 percent were opposed. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. <img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1308668388?&gn=Be+Warned%3A+FDA+Unveils+Graphic+Cigarette+Labels&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Public+Health,smoking,FDA,advertising,Shots+-+Health+Blog,Health,Your+Health,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137316580&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110621&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133188449,129305701,129287924,126338104,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 09:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-21/be-warned-fda-unveils-graphic-cigarette-labels-88117 Uruguay is unlikely world leader in anti-smoking efforts http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-25/uruguay-unlikely-world-leader-anti-smoking-efforts-84215 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-24/77849096.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ten years ago, Uruguay had some of the highest cigarette-smoking rates in Latin America.</p><p>But Uruguay's efforts in the last five years to curb smoking have been so successful that the small South American nation is embroiled in a lawsuit with tobacco giant Philip Morris International.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll talk with Dr. Eduardo Bianco, a cardiologist and the director of the Tobacco Epidemic Research Center in Uruguay, about the lawsuit and his country's anti-tobacco laws, which are some of the strictest in the world.&nbsp;</p><p>Also, the Chinese government is the world's largest cigarette manufacturer.</p><p>As part of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, it's also begun implementing anti-smoking measures, including banning cigarette vending machines. But those measures face an uphill battle because, as WAMU's Rachel Louise Snyder discovered in her segment, <em>The Global Guru</em>, cigarettes in China are more than just an addictive habit.</p><p><em>The Global Guru is produced in association with American University's College of Arts and Sciences and WAMU. We got it from the Public Radio Exchange. </em></p></p> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 15:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-25/uruguay-unlikely-world-leader-anti-smoking-efforts-84215 Gloria Materre named new Chicago liquor-control commission director http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/gloria-materre-named-new-chicago-liquor-control-commission-director-83923 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-18/gloriamaterre.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There's a new head of the body that oversees alcohol and cigarette sales laws in Illinois.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has named Gloria Materre to be the next executive director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. Materre is the outgoing executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority.</p><p>At her new post, she'll be responsible for implementing decisions of the seven-member commission, including disciplinary measures. The body also monitors the enforcement of laws that bar underage sales of alcohol and cigarettes.</p><p>Materre replaces Lainie Krozel at the commission. The governor's office says Krozel is returning to a position she held before - as chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Revenue.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 17:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/gloria-materre-named-new-chicago-liquor-control-commission-director-83923 Chicago men indicted over contraband cigarettes http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/chicago-men-indicted-over-contraband-cigarettes <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cigarette packs.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Eleven men from the St. Louis and Chicago areas are facing federal indictment for allegedly trafficking in contraband cigarettes.</p><p>The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis announced the indictments on Thursday. Four of the men are from suburban St. Louis, five are from Chicago and two are from Chicago suburbs.</p><p>Authorities say the illegal enterprise supplied hundreds of thousands of contraband cigarettes to people in Missouri and Illinois. The participants allegedly sold the cigarettes without paying state and local cigarette taxes.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 21:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/chicago-men-indicted-over-contraband-cigarettes