State Supreme Court Rejects R.J. Reynolds Tobacco’s Appeal on Magazine Advertisement Case
The state Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously rejected R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's appeal of a ruling that found the company violated terms of the 1998 national tobacco settlement by targeting cigarette advertisements at minors, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Under the $246 billion settlement with California and 45 other states, major tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds, are prohibited from targeting "tobacco advertising, promotion or marketing" at people younger than age 18, according to the Chronicle. In 2002, a San Diego jury found that R.J. Reynolds had breached the agreement by continuing to advertise in magazines such as Vibe, Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated, which have large under-18 readerships. Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager in 2002 ruled that R.J. Reynolds had breached the agreement and ordered the company to pay a fine of $20 million. A state appellate court dismissed the fine, finding that although the state is "entitled to a fine ... the amount must be recalculated in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent limits on punitive damages," the Chronicle reports. The court upheld the remainder of the ruling. Prager now must rule on the size of the new fine (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/10).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.