Judge Rules against Big Tobacco in Lawsuit

June 1, 2011 - 5:29 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has rejected the tobacco industry's latest effort to end a case in which the companies were found to have concealed the dangers of smoking for decades.

The nation's largest cigarette manufacturers had argued that U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler no longer has jurisdiction in the government's landmark lawsuit against the companies because a 2009 law empowers the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the industry.

The companies say that in light of the FDA's powers, there is no longer a reasonable likelihood they will commit violations. Kessler ruled that argument unconvincing.

The judge is considering forcing the companies to pay for a campaign of "corrective" statements on the addictiveness of nicotine and the lack of health benefit from cigarettes sold as "low tar," ''ultra-light" or "mild."