Delaware Judge Set to Hear Arguments in Lorillard Lawsuit Against American Legacy Over ‘Truth’ Campaign
A Delaware judge is scheduled to hear arguments this week in a lawsuit surrounding the "long-simmering" controversy over the American Legacy Foundation's "Truth" anti-smoking advertising campaign, NPR's "Morning Edition" reports. The foundation, which was created as part of the 1998 national tobacco settlement to educate the public about the dangers of smoking, ran radio commercials last year implying that tobacco companies add urea, a chemical compound found in dog urine, to cigarettes (Hochberg, "Morning Edition," NPR, 3/25). Lorillard Tobacco Co., the country's fourth largest tobacco company, claims that the "Truth" ads violated the settlement "by executing a campaign of offensive statements" (California Healthline, 2/20). In particular, the "dog walker" commercial, in which a man calls Lorillard and offers to sell the company collected dog urine, is "malicious," "unfair" and a "personal attack" against the company and its employees, Lorillard spokesperson Steve Watson said, adding, "The radio ads secretly taped our employees without their consented knowledge. It insinuated that we add dog urine to our cigarettes, which was both gross and factually inaccurate, and also suggested that we add urea to our product, which we do not. We made them aware of that, but they continue to run the ads and that's wrong." Watson added that the foundation "has overstepped" its stated mandate, which Watson said his company supports, of educating young people "about the addictiveness and the health risks associated with smoking." Foundation President and CEO Dr. Cheryl Healton said she "concedes" that the ads "might be considered shocking" but not that they are "malicious." Healton said, "If you seriously think about the fact that 420,000 Americans prematurely lose their life every year ... due to this product, I think we have gone nowhere near crossing the line that one could cross if one wanted to make it a true war" (Hochberg, "Morning Edition," NPR, 3/25). The full segment will be available online after noon ET. Note: You must have RealPlayer Audio to listen to the segment.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.