It's part of a bicoastal battle against advertisements that tobacco companies say violate their constitutional rights to a fair trial.
Tobacco giants R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard allege California's television and print advertisements unfairly portray tobacco executives as deviously plotting to hook teens on smoking.
One such television spot shows children in a playground with cigarettes raining down on them, said Charles A. Blixt, executive vice president and chief counsel for R.J. Reynolds, which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"These ads don't educate and they don't discourage kids from smoking," he said. "They simply attack and vilify tobacco companies and the industry."
Under Proposition 99, a voter-approved initiative passed in 1998, California can use part of its cigarette taxes to warn smokers about the dangers of cigarettes.
But the tobacco industry has repeatedly said some of the ads unfairly contaminate the jury pool, paving the way for a series of recent record-breaking lawsuits against tobacco companies.
On Wednesday, the California attorney general's office will ask a federal judge to dismiss the case, said office spokesman Tom Dresslar. The judge also could issue a preliminary injunction banning the state from running the controversial ads until the case goes to trial.
"Any injury to the industry's reputation and their ability to win lawsuits is caused by their own misconduct and their disregard for public health," Dresslar said.
Meanwhile, in a Delaware court case, Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard is also suing to stop advertisements by the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that's funded through the 1998 master settlement agreement between cigarette makers and 46 states. A trial date has not yet been set in that case.
The foundation runs national advertisements showing youngsters dragging around corpses of individuals supposedly killed by smoking-related illnesses.
"The target group is 12- to 17-year-olds," said Cheryl Healton, the foundation's chief executive officer. "Last time I looked, they weren't on any juries."
A Lorillard spokesman on Tuesday didn't return phone calls seeking comment from The Associated Press.
Interesting. What do you think? Does tobacco have a legimate beef, or are they just whining because the truth is out there?
Edited by Javert Rovinski, 11 June 2003 - 10:43 AM.