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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tobacco industry litigation strategies to oppose tobacco control media campaigns


Objective: To document the tobacco industry's litigation strategy to impede tobacco control media campaigns. Methods: Data were collected from news and reports, tobacco industry documents, and interviews with health advocates and media campaign staff. Results: RJ Reynolds and Lorillard attempted to halt California's Media Campaign alleging that the campaign polluted jury pools and violated First Amendment rights because they were compelled to pay for anti-industry ads. The American Legacy Foundation was accused of violating the Master Settlement Agreement's vilification clause because its ads attacked the tobacco industry. The tobacco companies lost these legal challenges. Conclusion: The tobacco industry has expanded its efforts to oppose tobacco control media campaigns through litigation strategies. While litigation is a part of tobacco industry business, it imposes a financial burden and impediment to media campaigns' productivity. Tobacco control professionals need to anticipate these challenges and be prepared to defend against them.

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