Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Applauds Court Decision Finding RJR Deceived Consumers About Health Risks Of Eclipse Cigarettes

March 11, 2010

            Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today applauded a court decision finding that R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) ads for its Eclipse cigarettes were deceptive because the company lacked scientific evidence for claims they are safer than other brands.

            Blumenthal, with eight other states, sued RJR in 2005 alleging that the company’s claims Eclipse is less dangerous than other cigarettes were false and misleading and that the ads violated the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement. The lawsuit was filed in Vermont state court.


            Judge Dennis R. Pearson of the Chittenden Vermont Superior Court agreed, finding that the company failed to scientifically prove claims in 2003 and 2004 print ads that Eclipse “may present a lower risk of cancer, chronic bronchitis and possibly emphysema.”

            “The court rightly found RJR’s ads deceptive and disingenuous, falsely stating that Eclipse is safer than other cigarettes,” Blumenthal said. “RJR sought to eclipse the truth about its cigarettes: It lacked scientific evidence to prove claims they are ‘healthier’ than other brands. This decision confirms the obvious: there is no such thing as a safe cigarette. Smokers seeking to reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease and early death should be encouraged to quit, not tricked by false claims of a safer cigarette.

            “I will continue fighting Big Tobacco’s snake oil sales strategies that mislead consumers about the dangers of smoking. We will seek strong and significant sanctions against RJR in the upcoming penalty phase.”

            The court will conduct a second proceeding to determine penalties and sanctions against RJR. 

            RJR continues to sell small qualities of Eclipse cigarettes, but stopped making health-related claims about the brand in 2007.

            Also participating the lawsuit are: California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New York, Tennessee, Vermont and the District of Columbia.