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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY / TOBACCO

Philip Morris to Drop Special Warning

May 25, 1999|Reuters

Philip Morris Cos. said it will drop Liggett Group Inc.'s special warning that smoking is addictive from the packaging on three cigarette brands it has purchased from the rival tobacco company. "Warning: Smoking is addictive" now appears on all Liggett's U.S. brands in addition to the standard Surgeon General's warning that is carried on all cigarettes sold in the U.S. Liggett, the tobacco unit of financier Bennett LeBow's Brooke Group Inc., added the warning in question on its Chesterfield, L&M and Lark packages in 1997 after it became the first U.S. tobacco concern to settle a smoking-liability suit with U.S. states. Philip Morris spokeswoman Mary Carnovale said the company will drop the warning to ensure that Philip Morris labeling is consistent. Philip Morris has never conceded that tobacco is an addictive substance. Liggett, which has said it will retain the warning on its remaining premium brand, Eve, as well as on the discount and private-label lines it sells, is the only U.S. tobacco maker to include such a message on its products. Philip Morris closed the $300-million purchase of the three brands from Liggett on Monday and will begin shipments under its name on Wednesday.

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