HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has reached an agreement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc. over the marketing and advertisement of their organic tobacco products including American Spirit brand cigarettes. The concern is that the current advertisements may mislead consumers into believing that organic tobacco is less harmful than other tobacco.
Attorney General Tom Corbett said that Santa Fe has no reliable, scientific evidence that proves organic tobacco is safer or less harmful than other tobacco.
Corbett said that any deceptive cigarette advertisements would violate the 1998 national tobacco settlement along with various state consumer protection laws.
“This court action is about protecting the consumers of Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “We need to make sure that people are not being led to believe that these organic tobacco products are less harmful than any other tobacco products.”
Corbett said that as part of the agreement, known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Santa Fe has agreed to place “Organic tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette” on all advertisements for cigarettes made with organic tobacco. They will also place “Organic tobacco does not mean safer tobacco” on all advertisements for roll your own or pouch tobacco.
According to the agreement, Santa Fe has 30 days to meet these requirements and to instruct all tobacco retailers selling these products to dispose of old advertisements that do not contain the warnings.
The agreement will also enable the Office of Attorney General to enforce the terms of this agreement.
In addition to Pennsylvania,Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin have all signed on to the agreement.
The agreement was filed yesterday in Commonwealth Court by Deputy Attorney General Carly J. Wismer of the Attorney General’s Tobacco Enforcement Section.