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Some heart group chapters cooling on tobacco deal

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Some state chapters of the American Heart Association are urging the group to stop lobbying for the national tobacco deal that gives cigarette makers legal protections, a sign of growing dissension over the proposal.

"How tragic it would be if after the settlement is accomplished and the dust has settled, the public perception were that the AHA had been duped by the tobacco industry," says a strongly worded Jan. 15 letter from the Kentucky branch of the AHA.The AHA, the American Medical Association and American Cancer Society are urging Congress to pass the proposed tobacco deal. It would end 40 state anti-tobacco lawsuits and protect cigarette makers from most future lawsuits if they pay $368 billion and curb marketing practices attractive to teenagers.