LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A monthlong advertising campaign has begun to notify potential Arkansas claimants in a preliminary $45 million settlement with the manufacturer of Marlboro Lights and Marlboro Ultra Lights cigarettes.
Consumers claimed the cigarettes were deceptively advertised as being safer than regular cigarettes. An agreement was reached with manufacturer Phillip Morris USA to settle the class-action lawsuit with no admission of wrongdoing by the company.
The company argued that the cigarettes delivered less tar and nicotine, as advertised, if they were smoked correctly. Officials said smokers who used the cigarettes as designed got the advertised benefit.
Consumers can receive 10 cents to 25 cents per pack purchased in Arkansas over 32 years from November 1971 to April 18, 2003, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2cgt1SN ) reports. The lawsuit had originally sought a full refund for each pack.
A judge will hold a hearing on Nov. 21 to decide whether to grant final approval to the arrangement.
Claimants must submit a sworn statement to the court listing their average daily cigarette purchase per year for personal use, along with the name, address and telephone number of a verifying witness.
Claims, due by Dec. 1, will be vetted by a court-appointed accountant and attorney who have been given the authority to hold hearings on applications they believe are questionable.
People who wish to opt out of the settlement must do so in writing by Nov. 1. If enough people opt out, Phillip Morris can discontinue the agreement.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com