In the lawsuit, filed in 2004, the smokers accused Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which is now part of Reynolds American Inc., and other defendants of deceiving them for more than 30 years by claiming low-tar cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes. The manufacturers, they allege, knew the health risks were about the same.
U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday in Brooklyn.
As a class, light cigarette smokers would be entitled to between $120 billion and $200 billion in refunds for a deceptive product, plaintiff attorney Michael D. Hausfeld said Tuesday.
“They paid for a cigarette that was supposed to pose less of a health risk,” he said. “They got one that was as risky, if not more risky.”