Rowe Supports Suit Against RJ Reynolds Tobacco To End False Health Claims About "Eclipse" Cigarettes

July 26, 2005

Attorney General Steven Rowe announced that Maine is supporting a Vermont lawsuit filed today against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ("RJRT"). The suit alleges that RJRT's claims that its "Eclipse" cigarettes cause less cancer and disease than other cigarettes are false and misleading. The scientific evidence simply does not support RJRT's claim that "Eclipse" cigarettes cause less cancer or other disease in humans. In fact, RJRT's own data establishes that "Eclipse" cigarettes actually increase the amount of carbon monoxide delivered to an "Eclipse" smoker.

Attorney General Rowe condemns RJRT's false statement that "Eclipse" is the next best choice to quitting. Rowe said, "This misleading claim gives smokers a false impression that "Eclipse" is a safe alternative to quitting." Attorney General Rowe joins Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell in reminding those who smoke that there is no second-best choice to quitting.

The Maine Office of Attorney General, through Assistant Attorneys General Peter LaFond and Linda Conti, has been participating in a year-long multi-state investigation of the RJRT claims. In addition to joining with a number of other states in supporting the lawsuit filed against RJRT in Vermont, Maine will, with a group of core states, directly assist Vermont in litigating against RJRT.

RJRT was a signatory to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement among 46 states and the major tobacco manufacturers. That agreement expressly prohibits participating manufacturers from making any material misrepresentations of fact regarding the health consequences of using any tobacco product. The Vermont suit alleges that RJRT has violated that prohibition as well as state unfair trade practice laws. The suit seeks an injunction against further false and misleading advertising by RJRT concerning "Eclipse" as well as monetary fines against the company.