Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Tobacco Litigation

Delivery Sales Ban and Tobacco Litigation


2005 – 2013 “Eclipse” Litigation

On July 26, 2005, Attorney General William Sorrell sued tobacco product manufacturer R.J. Reynolds for consumer fraud and violation of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Vermont is collaborating in this matter with attorneys from other States’ AG offices and with NAAG. The lawsuit charges that Reynolds’ advertising for its “Eclipse” brand cigarettes—claiming that smoking Eclipse cigarettes is less harmful than smoking other brands of cigarettes—violates Vermont’s consumer protection statutes, and also the Master Settlement Agreement, which prohibits the tobacco companies from making material misrepresentations regarding the health consequences of tobacco products.

The case was tried over a period of five weeks in the fall of 2009, with the Court issuing a ruling in March 2010. The Court found that R.J. Reynolds’ advertising claims of a “reduced risk” cigarette were deceptive and misleading, in violation of Vermont’s Consumer Fraud Act and the Master Settlement Agreement. On June 3, 2013, the Court issued a final judgment that requires R.J. Reynolds to pay the State of Vermont $8,328,000 in penalties, and permanently prohibits the company from making “risk reduction” claims for its tobacco products without supporting studies that have been accepted by the scientific community.


Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company – Assurance of Voluntary Compliance

Organic Tobacco Does Not Mean A Safer Cigarette! The Attorney General reached a settlement with the maker of Natural American Spirit brand tobacco products that requires the company to disclose that “Organic tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette” in its advertising. The settlement became effective on March 1, 2010.


1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and Implementation


1997-1998 Litigation