Tobacco Industry Will Sue to Stop "Vilification"

The Lorillard Tobacco company doesn't want to be made to look like a villain, and so it is suing the American Legacy Foundation claiming that anti-smoking ads violate the historic 1998 settlement agreement that governs the industry. That agreement created the foundation and funded it with $1.5 billion dollars for PR, advertising and education to try to prevent smoking. The New York Times reports that "since the foundation first broadcast a TV commercial portraying piles of body bags in front of Philip Morris's headquarters in 2000, cigarette makers have complained that its anti-smoking campaign paints them as callous and deceitful," and that this violates terms of the agreement under which "the foundation is barred from conducting 'any personal attack on, or vilification of tobacco companies or their employees.'" William H. Sorrel, Vermont's attorney general, notes that "any industry that is responsible for the deaths of more than 400,000 (Americans) a year is doing some pretty ugly things. And to point those out, is that vilification?"