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* Largest cigarette company outside the MSA has joined the big t…

* Largest cigarette company outside the MSA has joined the big three:
Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and Lorillard

MIAMI, Jan. 24 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — Miami-based General Tobacco has announced it is making its first payment of more than $30 million into the industry’s Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), the comprehensive accord formed in 1998 with the Attorneys General of 46 states and five territories, which has
fundamentally changed how tobacco is marketed, advertised and promoted.
General Tobacco’s recent payment, the first in an agreed upon total amount,
which could reach $1.7 billion over the next ten years, serves as proof of the
company’s status as a major player in one of the most challenging and closely
watched industries in the U.S. As one of the largest tobacco companies in the
country, with approximately $400 million in annual sales, and the newest
member to join the MSA pact, General Tobacco stands poised to continue on its
steady growth trajectory while maintaining its commitment to corporate
responsibility.

The voluntary payments made by General Tobacco will support the MSA’s
mission of improving public health and is evidence of the company’s
willingness to abide by the marketing and advertising restrictions addressed
in the agreement.

“While this voluntary payment to the states is a considerable amount of
money, it’s a significant investment that speaks to our corporate culture of
social responsibility and underscores our investment in the long-term success
and stability of our company,” said J. Ronald Denman, Vice President and
General Counsel. “We are one of the few newcomers to the industry that have
made a substantial gain in what was historically a very limited field of
companies. Our rapid growth demonstrates the desire by adult cigarette
smokers for quality cigarettes at more economical prices than those of the
long established cigarette brands.”

The mission of General Tobacco is to distribute superior quality tobacco
products at competitive prices. The company began distributing its own
generic cigarette brand, GT One(R), in May 2000. Due to the popularity of this
value-priced product, it now distributes three additional brands of generic
cigarettes: Bronco(R), Silver(R) and a new line, Champion(R), which rolled out
nationally in Q4 ’04. General Tobacco’s products are distributed throughout
the United States including markets such as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico as
well as internationally.

With its unique raw materials source, niche market and innovative business
strategy, General Tobacco is favorably positioned in the generic cigarette
market and is committed to distributing a diversified line of quality tobacco
products at extremely fair prices.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.