States Sue R.J. Reynolds Over Ads

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state attorneys general in Washington, California, Arizona and New York filed separate lawsuits Monday against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., accusing the tobacco giant of violating a 1998 national settlement agreement that limits outdoor event-sponsored advertising.

Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing the tobacco giant, which makes Winston and other cigarettes, to remove all existing company-sponsored event advertising.

Under the 1998 settlement, tobacco companies agreed to discontinue outdoor advertising except under limited circumstances, such as at brand name sponsored events. In those cases, tobacco companies are allowed to advertise at the event site from 90 days before the event to 10 days after.

This agreement would limit R.J. Reynolds’s ability to post outdoor advertising at Winston-sponsored events at Seattle International Raceway and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. Tobacco advertising was found at both tracks, outside of the 100-day window for Winston-sponsored events, Ms. Gregoire’s office alleged.

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