We've come a long way, baby, since cigarette companies used doctors in commercials. Of course, there are no more cigarette commercials.

But, in a case shelved on a technicality, Illinois smokers had been awarded $10.1 billion in a class-action case against Philip Morris. The plaintiffs' grounds were that Big Tobacco marketed “low-tar” and “light” cigarettes as safe.

“They are the masters of deception,” fumes Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association in Illinois. “This is going on right now with the electronic cigarettes. There is absolutely no regulation of that particular product.”

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Dave Kuneman, St Louis-based regional director for the Citizens Freedom Alliance, a/k/a the Smokers Club, isn't buying it, comparing the action to “suing a brewery after finding you can get drunk on light beer.”

The Springfield-based Drea's next goal: getting the legal age to buy a pack of smokes raised to 21.

As for the lawsuit, the high court left the door open for the plaintiffs to pursue further appeals.


(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com )