Illinois Files Suit Against B&W

CHICAGO -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will file a lawsuit today against the maker of Kool cigarettes, claiming that its hip-hop advertising campaign illegally markets cigarettes to kids, a spokeswoman for Madigan told the Associated Press.

The suit will seek several million dollars in damages against Louisville, Ky.-based Brown & Williamson and demand that the tobacco company stop its Kool Mixx 2004 promotional campaign in Illinois, spokeswoman Melissa Merz said.

Madigan signaled legal action in May, after an April 26 Chicago Sun-Times report, when she joined a group of state attorneys general in a letter accusing the company's marketing campaign of violating the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between four major tobacco companies and 46 states by directly or indirectly targeting minors. New York and Maryland already have sued the company over the promotion.

In May, company spokesman Mark Smith said the hip-hop promotion was aimed at adults.

This is the second lawsuit against tobacco companies coming out of Illinois in a week. On July 13, attorneys representing 1 million smokers in a class-action lawsuit against Philip Morris USA urged the Illinois Supreme Court to force the company to pay the $10.1 billion judgment in the case.

Thirty health and consumer groups signed onto court briefs urging the justices to uphold a March 2003 trial court decision that ordered the cigarette maker to pay the money for misleading smokers into thinking light cigarettes were less harmful than regular ones.
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