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IL Sup. Court Hears P. Morris 'Light Cigarette' Case

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The Illinois Supreme Court. (state photo)

By AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill –

Philip Morris Wednesday appealed a $10 billion consumer fraud ruling by arguing its so-called "light" cigarettes delivered what they promised.

Attorney James Thompson told the Illinois Supreme Court that light cigarettes provide lower levels of tar and nicotine. He says it's not the company's fault if smokers end up getting the usual amounts by taking deeper puffs or smoking more.

He also says a Madison County judge should have never certified it a class action because there are differences in the way people smoke and choose cigarettes.

But plaintiff's attorney Stephen Tillery of St. Louis says if that's true, then all class action cases would be invalid.

"The fact is that each puff of that smoke is more toxic than a regular cigarette--a regular Marlboro! So how can it not be said that each one of them was not harmed?" Tillery said.

Madison County Judge Nicholas Byron ruled the company defrauded people by marketing light cigarettes as safer.

Philip Morris recently removed the words "lowered tar and nicotine" from packages of Marlboro lights.

To hear a report from Illinois Public Radio's Bill Wheelhouse, as aired on KWMU, click on the 'listen' icon above.

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