Thursday, September 21, 2006

Don't Hold Your Breath

The Lung Cancer Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to prevention of lung cancer and support for its victims, has sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission demanding that it take action against tobacco companies for secretly upping nicotine levels in cigarettes. Source.

A federal court in August issued a sweeping judgment against the tobacco industry for conspiracy, consumer fraud, racketeering, and related wrongs. Source.

The State of Massachusetts Department of Public Health followed up with a study showing that nicotine content in major cigarette brands had increased over the past six years. Higher nicotine content makes it easier to get addicted and harder to quit. Source.

The Alliance's argument that the tobacco companies committed fraud on shareholders by secretly raising nicotine levels has abstract merit. But tobacco company shareholders stand to profit from the fraud. And the SEC under Bush isn't going to upset the apple cart. Don't hold your breath on this one.

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