St. Louis Public Radio News
9:26 am
Mon March 10, 2003

Lawyers Finish Arguments in Tobacco Suit

Edwardsville, Ill. – Attorneys in Edwardsville wrapped up six weeks of testimony today in a consumer fraud case against the Philip Morris tobacco company.

Lawyers representing more than a million Illinois smokers say the company should pay $21 billion in punitive and compensatory damages for falsely marketing light cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes.

But Philip Morris attorneys say when Marlboro Lights were first introduced in the early 70s, consumers did not perceive them as being safer.

This is the first tobacco case based exclusively on light cigarettes to go to trial in the United States. Judge Nicholas Byron may render a verdict as early as next week.