The case was brought by three smokers from Maine as a proposed class action. They sued Altria and its Philip Morris USA unit, alleging fraud under Maine’s Unfair Trade Practices Act and saying they had been injured by what they called the false statements of the companies.

They sought compensation for economic rather than medical harm. They claimed, in other words, that they had overpaid for cigarettes based on deceptive advertisements suggesting that “light” cigarettes were safer than regular ones they did not seek money for injuries caused by smoking itself.

It is undisputed that brands like Marlboro Lights, made by Philip Morris, register lower levels of tar and nicotine than ordinary cigarettes when smoked by machines under a standard method authorized by the Federal Trade Commission. But many smokers compensate by puffing harder, smoking more cigarettes or inhaling deeper.

The question before the court was not whether use of the term “light” amounted to fraud. It was, rather, whether plaintiffs should be allowed to sue at all given the federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which required tobacco companies to place rotating warnings on their packaging and advertising.

The law also said that “no requirement or prohibition based on smoking and health shall be imposed under state law with respect to the advertising or promotion” of cigarettes so long as the law’s labeling requirements were followed.

Sixteen years ago, in a decision that produced no majority opinion, a four justice plurality said the phrase “based on smoking and health” in the labeling law did not apply to pre empt suits under state laws based on the “general duty not to make fraudulent statements.” Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by three justices no longer on the court, wrote the plurality opinion in the case, Cipollone v. Liggett Group Inc. He conceded that the distinction he drew lacked “theoretical elegance.”

Indeed, the lower courts have struggled to make sense of that fractured decision. At the argument of the Altria case in October, its lawyer, Theodore B. Olson, called the plurality opinion in Cipollone “baffling, confusing, litigation generating.”

Justice Stevens asked Mr. Olson whether the court would need to “reject the fraud analysis in Cipollone” for Altria to win. Mr. Olson said yes.

But Justice Stevens, writing for the majority on Monday, instead reaffirmed his plurality opinion in Cipollone and turned it into binding law. He was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Alan E. Untereiner, the author of a book on the pre emption defense and a lawyer who often represents business groups and companies arguing for pre emption, said Monday’s decision was “a step backward in the recent trend of making pre emption law more coherent. I can’t remember the last time the court took a plurality opinion that caused this much confusion and bewilderment in the lower courts, and elevated it into a majority opinion.”

The majority also rejected Altria’s backup argument, that the Federal Trade Commission’s policies and actions had pre empted the plaintiffs’ claims by implication. Altria argued that the commission had authorized the use of words and phrases like “light” and “low tar.” The majority flatly rejected that assertion, in language that may be helpful to the Justice Department in a separate racketeering suit against the tobacco industry pending in the federal appeals court in Washington.

“It seems particularly inappropriate,” Justice Stevens wrote, “to read a policy of authorization into the F.T.C’s inaction” given tobacco companies’ failure to tell the commission about studies concerning how “consumers of ‘light’ cigarettes actually inhale.”

The plaintiffs in the case, Altria Group Inc. v. Good, No. 07 562, were supported on the implied pre emption argument by the federal government, which took no position on whether the labeling law pre empted the Maine statute in so many words.

David C. Frederick, who represented the plaintiffs, said the tobacco industry should view the decision as an opportunity. “It would be appropriate for the tobacco companies to take a very hard look at how they market their products, because they have for decades been making deceptive claims about their products.”

“When people buy ‘light yogurt,’ ” Mr. Frederick added, by way of example, “they expect they’re getting less fat.”

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented Monday in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. “The court’s fidelity to Cipollone is unwise and unnecessary,” he wrote, noting that five members of the court that decided the case found the distinctions drawn by it unprincipled.

“The alleged misrepresentation here &#151 that ‘light’ and ‘low tar’ cigarettes are not as healthy as advertised &#151 is actionable only because of the effect that smoking light and low tar cigarettes had” on the plaintiffs’ health, Justice Thomas wrote.

The essence of the plaintiffs’ claim, Justice Thomas said, was that they had been misled into buying cigarettes they believed were safer than regular ones, meaning their claims fell squarely within the labeling law’s ban on state suits concerning “smoking and health.”

Justice Thomas said that some kinds of fraud claims against cigarette makers may go forward, just not those concerning “smoking and health.”

“Thus,” he wrote, “if cigarette manufacturers were to falsely advertise their products as ‘American made’ or ‘the official cigarette of Major League Baseball,’ state law claims arising from that wrongful behavior would not be pre empted.”

Forbidding lawsuits based on health claims, Justice Thomas said, would not mean consumers lack protection, as tobacco marketing is subject to regulatory oversight.

The suits affected by Monday’s decision still face significant hurdles. They typically claim damages based on overpayment for a product less valuable than that advertised, meaning the sums of money involved in individual suits are not particularly large. But fraud claims, which generally require proof of reliance by the each plaintiff, are not ideally suited to class action treatment.

Best electronic cigarettes

Bbc news – e-cigarettes ‘as effective’ as nicotine patches
Many smokers are beginning to move away from the traditional cigarette and switching to the nascent electronic cigarette (also known as the smokeless cigarette, or simply, e cig). Numerous companies are now starting to sell e cigarettes to customers around the world, adding to the industry’s growth. While the e cigarette industry is still much smaller than the tobacco industry, it has certainly flourished over the last several years. In 2011, an estimated $2 billion had been spent on e cigarettes worldwide, and one in five Americans had tried an e cig at least once. E cigarette smoking will likely continue to increase in popularity, but it is critical to become informed about electronic cigarettes and their potential health risks before buying a pack. Here are some of the most important things you need to know.

What is an electronic cigarette?
The electronic cigarette is a relatively new technology that is often referred to as an e cigarette, or simply e cig. It is a battery powered device that converts liquid nicotine into a vapor that users inhale, simulating the act of tobacco smoking. Unlike tobacco smoking, however, e cigarette smoking does not involve any fire, ash, or smoky smell. In addition, electronic cigarettes do not contain many of the 4,000 harmful chemicals found in traditional cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide, lead, acetone, and tar. They do not even contain tobacco. E cigarettes are therefore often seen as a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, which cause millions of deaths every year. Manufacturers produce either very discrete or very stylish electronic cigarettes. They might look like a pen, they may look like a bold fashion statement with fluorescent pink or corvette red coloring, or they can look just like the real thing.

How does it work?
Lighting a traditional cigarette causes the tobacco to burn, releasing smoke that contains nicotine. The user breathes in the smoke to deliver nicotine to the lungs. An electronic cigarette does not rely on this process of combustion. Instead, it heats a nicotine liquid and converts the liquid to a vapor, or mist, that the user inhales. Depending on the e cigarette, the user may simply inhale from the cartridge to begin the vaporization process, though some devices have a manual switch that activates the vaporizer inside.

An e cigarette has three main parts a rechargeable lithium battery, a vaporization chamber, and a cartridge. The lithium battery powers the e cigarette and can be charged with a wall charger or the USB port that you use to charge your other electronic devices. The charged battery is connected to the vaporization chamber, a hollow tube that contains electronic controls and an atomizer the component that creates the vapor. Before you activate the device, you will need to attach a cartridge containing nicotine liquid to the vaporization chamber. The tip of the cartridge serves as the e cigarette’s mouthpiece.

You inhale the same way you do when smoking a regular cigarette. This inhalation activates the atomizer to heat the liquid in the cartridge and convert the liquid to a vapor. Inhaling this vapor through the mouthpiece delivers nicotine to the lungs, and then you exhale vapor that looks much like a cloud of cigarette smoke. In this sense, you will enjoy many of the same sensations as tobacco smoking holding the device in your hand, inhaling, and exhaling. Many e cigarettes even have a light emitting diode (LED) on the end that lights up when you inhale, simulating flame.

The liquid or “smoke juice” that fills the cartridges is predominately propylene glycol, an additive that the FDA has approved for use in food. It is also commonly used in fog machines to create a smoky atmosphere at concerts and nightclubs. You can buy cartridges containing different amounts of nicotine, or no nicotine at all. Manufacturers usually add flavorings to the liquid, ranging from tobacco and menthol flavors to chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and more.

Why make the switch?
Cigarette smoking is one of the most difficult habits to break, and you may have already tried quitting at some point in your life. Electronic cigarettes can serve as an alternative to traditional cigarettes, allowing you to enjoy the act of smoking and the effects of nicotine without having to worry about many of the harmful chemicals that come with traditional cigarettes. While many smokers are drawn by the fact that e cigarettes contain fewer chemicals, there are various other reasons to make the switch.

1. No Ash E cigarettes work through heating a solution to turn it into vapor. Since this doesn t involve any combustion, it doesn t produce any ash. You can therefore get rid of the stinking, ash caked tray overflowing with cigarette butts.

2. Save Money A single e cigarette cartridge contains the same amount of nicotine as around 20 cigarettes. When you consider the fact that you can get five packs of cartridges for the same price as two packs of cigarettes (if you happen to live in one of the cheapest states for tobacco, that is), the cost savings are evident.

3. Delicious Flavors E cigarettes can be flavored much more easily than tobacco. You still get your nicotine, but you can enjoy it in berry, vanilla, chocolate, or coffee. You can explore a world of tastes, including some modeled on classic tobacco cigarettes.

4. Choose Your Strength. Not all e cigs contain the same amount of nicotine. In fact, you can usually get different strengths depending on how much you need. So you can start on 18 mg cartridges, and then as you get used to it, work down to 12 mg, 6 mg, and eventually no nicotine at all if you like.

5. Kick the Habit. Since you can adjust the levels of nicotine in an e cigarette, you may find it easier to quit smoking. You can gradually wean yourself off nicotine and eventually release your body from the steady stream of carcinogens found in a normal cigarette.

6. No Fire Risk. If you fall asleep with a cigarette in your hand, it could spell disaster ruined home, torched family memories, and possibly worse. But nothing will happen if you fall asleep with an e cig in your hand. There is no fire involved, so there is no danger.

7. No Smoky Smell. The smell of smoke is extremely off putting to many people. Most smokers don’t even like their clothes reeking of pungent cigarettes. E cigarettes only have a faint smell, and that is mostly due to the flavoring. With cigarettes, you may smell like an ashtray with e cigarettes, you smell faintly of chocolate, or coffee, or any flavor you choose.

8. No Second Hand Smoke. E cigarettes don t emit anything out from the tip (the side stream you get with cigarettes), and since there are less chemicals in the vapor, they don t pose a risk to anybody close to you.

9. No Smoker s Cough. The wide array of toxins present in cigarette smoke irritates the back of the throat and causes a smoker s cough. E cigarettes don t have these toxins, so the cough will disappear!

10. No Stained Teeth. Since electronic cigarettes contain fewer harmful substances and dirty chemicals, you won’t stain your teeth a yellow brown color.

If you do decide to make the switch, it is important to be aware of the fact that you may continue to have cravings for regular cigarettes. It takes some smokers a few days, while it takes others an entire year to completely transition from traditional to electronic cigarettes it really depends on the user. This is normal and something all new e cig smokers go through. Bear in mind that your body is accustomed to taking in thousands of toxins and carcinogens from the traditional cigarettes you have been smoking. Your body will need time to adjust to the lack of chemicals since, like nicotine, your body has become dep
endent on them. Regardless of the amount of time is takes you make the switch, know that electronic cigarettes can help you lessen the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Traditional and electronic cigarettes are remarkably similar in design and function, which is why many see e cigarette smoking as an excellent substitute or alternative to tobacco smoking. But there are various differences between these two types of cigarettes, several of which are described below.

The first major difference between an electronic cigarette and a tobacco cigarette is the smoke. Unlike a regular cigarette, an electronic cigarette does not emit any smoke. Instead, it generates water vapor, which is considered to be less harmful to your body and better for the environment than the chemical ridden smoke emitted by tobacco cigarettes. Another distinction between the two cigarette types is the smoking mechanism. Traditional cigarettes use the process of ignition to convert solid nicotine into smoke, meaning they need the aid of a flame to become lit. But with e cigarettes, the atomizer provides the necessary combustion to convert the liquid nicotine into water vapors, permitting you to make use of the smokeless device without a match or lighter. Finally, e cigarettes tend to be much cheaper than regular cigarettes, making them the more cost effective option.

How to Choose
Choosing the right e cigarette is the best way to start an effective program that can help you quit smoking. Such a choice can also help you cut down on your nicotine consumption or simply discover a cheaper and more accessible way to rejoice in your habit. Choosing the ideal electronic cigarette for your personal tastes and consumption levels is significant in harvesting worthy benefits out of this transition. The sections below describe some of the key factors you should consider when deciding which electronic cigarette to buy. They will help to ensure you select a product that provides optimal satisfaction, reasonable usage costs, sufficient nicotine levels, and favorable flavors. Once you’re ready to start comparing, head back to the search results page and use the various filters to help narrow your options. With 28 electronic cigarettes to choose from, we can help find the best one for you.