Smokeless Tobacco Makers Settle State Lawsuit by Paying Damages, Posting Warnings
Nine producers and sellers of smokeless tobacco have agreed to settle a California lawsuit by paying $2.75 million for anti-tobacco education programs and distributing warning signs about the health risks of their products, Reuters/Los Angeles Times reports. The suit was brought in 1998 by the city of San Francisco and the Environmental Law Foundation, which charged that the smokeless tobacco manufacturers "entic[ed] children to use cancer-causing products." The plaintiffs' argued that the products' current warning labels, which state that smokeless tobacco is "not a safe alternative to cigarettes" and "may cause mouth cancer," were not "detailed" enough. Under the settlement, approved Monday by a San Diego superior court judge and announced yesterday, the companies will comply with a 1986 state law "requiring consumer warnings for products known to cause cancer or birth defects." The producers will distribute signs to all stores that sell snuff products or chewing tobacco, "along with instructions on how they should be posted" (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 12/19). The San Francisco Department of Public Health is expected to receive $313,465 under the settlement (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/19).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.