Vermont fines R.J. Reynolds Tobacco $8.3 million for false advertising

MONTPELIER, Vt., June 5 (UPI) -- A Vermont judge ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to stop deceptive advertising and pay $8.3 million to the state in penalties.

The Superior Court case revolved around advertisements for Eclipse, which the North Carolina company claimed was a "risk reduction" cigarette.

Advertisement reported Wednesday that Judge Dennis Pearson found R.J. Reynold had committed "thousands of violations" in a national advertising campaign that included the print media, direct mailing and claims made on the company's website for more than four years.

The judge also noted the company continued an advertising campaign that claimed health benefits associated with Eclipse, even after 40 state attorneys general had told the company to stop.

"If you make unsubstantiated health claims about your deadly products, you will pay dearly," Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said.

"Any attempts to advertise alternative tobacco products with deceptive health-benefit claims will not be tolerated."

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