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Strong Remedies Still Available in Tobacco Lawsuit Despite Supreme Court's Decision Not to Hear Disgorgement Appeal

Statement by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
October 17, 2005

Washington, DC — As intervenors in the federal government's lawsuit against the tobacco companies, we are disappointed by today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the government's appeal of a lower court ruling barring the disgorgement, or recovery, of illegally obtained industry profits as a remedy in the case.

Despite this decision, the government and the judge have a wide range of remedies available to prevent and restrain future industry wrongdoing. These include requiring the tobacco companies to pay tens of billions of dollars to fund smoking cessation and public education campaigns. Other remedies include financial penalties if the tobacco companies continue to addict children, restrictions on tobacco marketing, greater disclosure of industry documents, and strict monitoring of the industry. These remaining remedies can fundamentally reform the tobacco industry and hold the greatest potential for reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in our country.

Today's decision should not be an excuse to let the tobacco companies off the hook with a weak settlement. The Justice Department has put on a very strong case that the tobacco companies have engaged in a decades-long scheme to deceive the American people about the health risks of their products and their marketing to children. The government should aggressively pursue all available remedies on behalf of the American people.