U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2008 Term

Oral Argument Date

October 06, 2008


Questions Presented

Whether state-law challenges to FTC-authorized statements regarding tar and nicotine yields in cigarette advertising are expressly or impliedly preempted by federal law.

Case Updates

Supreme Court rejects federal preemption of tort actions based on approved promotion of cigarettes

December 15, 2008

Disagreeing with NCLC, the Supreme Court held that neither the Cigarette Labeling Act’s preemption provision nor the Federal Trade Commission’s actions preempt state-law fraud claims regarding the advertisement of tar and nicotine levels.

U.S. Chamber files brief on the merits

April 07, 2008

NCLC filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioner, appealing a First Circuit ruling that federal law does not preempt state law causes of action challenging FTC-authorized statements. In this case, plaintiffs challenged FTC-approved cigarette labels such as “light” or “lower tar and nicotine” as misleading because the labels failed to account for “real-world” consumer behavior, such as taking larger puffs, to compensate for the lower nicotine content. NCLC argued that the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act expressly preempts state-law requirements or prohibitions, including tort actions, “based on” smoking or health with respect to the advertising or promotion of cigarettes. When Congress enacted uniform labeling standards, it did so in order to promote efficiency, reduce barriers to interstate commerce, and prevent consumer confusion.

Previously, the NCLC filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review this case. This case is also known as Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Good, et al.

Case Documents