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N.Y. court snuffs out lawsuit targeting cigarette firms

SHARE N.Y. court snuffs out lawsuit targeting cigarette firms

A New York state appeals court has dismissed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of more than a million smokers who accused tobacco companies of concealing the addictive quality of cigarettes.

The court ruled Thursday that the smokers failed to offer evidence that any company advertisements or statements convinced them that cigarettes were not addictive, especially in light of news accounts about nicotine addiction.Smokers should have understood the habit is addictive, because they had a "reasonable opportunity to discover the true facts . . . by using ordinary intelligence," the court ruled.

Members of the class action were not seeking damages for personal injuries caused by their habits. Instead, they said they were misled, and sued under a 1980 state law prohibiting consumer fraud. They sought reimbursement for money spent on cigarettes.

Last year, a lower court granted class-action status to state residents who had purchased cigarettes since 1980.