Philip Morris v. Harshbarger

Several tobacco-product manufacturers challenged the constitutionality of a Massachusetts statute that required annual disclosure of ingredients lists and nicotine yields for all cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco sold within the state to the state public health department.  These disclosures subsequently may be released by the department to the public to mitigate risks to public health.  The manufacturers argued that the statute was preempted by federal laws regulating the labeling and advertising of tobacco products, which included anonymous federal ingredient reporting requirements. The Court held that the state statute was not expressly or impliedly preempted because, among other things:  (1) it did not regulate the advertising or promotional activities of tobacco companies by requiring them to provide information directly to the public; (2) it did not frustrate either the federal labeling requirements or the national uniformity of advertising regulations; and (3) the federal regulations did not demonstrate an intent to protect tobacco ingredients from disclosure throughout the nation or to inhibit states from collecting information about tobacco additives.


Philip Morris, Inc., et al. v. Harshbarger, et al., 122 F.3d 58, United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit (1997).

  • United States
  • Aug 18, 1997
  • United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit



  • Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
  • Conwood Company, L.P.
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • National Tobacco Company, L.P.
  • Philip Morris Incorporated
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • Swisher International, Inc.
  • The Pinkerton Tobacco Company
  • United States Tobacco Company


  • David H. Mulligan, Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health
  • L. Scott Harshbarger, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Legislation Cited

Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1984

Massachusetts Disclosure Act, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94, Section 307B

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Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product