Appeals court blocks ruling against tobacco companies

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no smokingWASHINGTON - A federal appeals court in Washington has blocked a judgment against tobacco companies, clearing the way for them to continue selling "light" and "low tar" cigarettes.

In August, Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the companies violated racketeering laws and conspired for decades to mislead the public about the health hazards of smoking. She ordered the companies to publish "corrective statements" on the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine. She also ordered tobacco companies to stop labeling cigarettes with terms such as "low tar," "light," or "mild," because those cigarettes were no safer than others.Tobacco companies argued that the marketing ban would cost them (m) millions of dollars and lead to a loss of customers. Today's decision, issued without comment, puts Kessler's ruling on hold.

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