United States v. Philip Morris USA, et al.

In 1999, the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the major cigarette manufacturers and related trade organizations alleging that defendants, while acting as an enterprise, fraudulently misled American consumers for decades about the risks and dangers of cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In 2006, the court found that defendants violated civil provisions of RICO and that there was a reasonable likelihood that defendants would continue to violate RICO in the future. On appeal, the district court’s findings were upheld, in part, vacated, in part, and remanded, in part, to the district court. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from both sides in the case in June 2010, the district court began to implement the 2006 final order.

As a means of preventing future RICO violations, the district court ordered the tobacco companies to issue corrective statements on five topics in which they had misled the public, including the adverse health effects of smoking and the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine. The tobacco industry fought the point-of-sale corrective statements in court for 16 years. This court order implements the agreement negotiated by parties to the case for the corrective statement signs to be displayed in nearly 200,000 retail stores for 21 months – from October 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025.

The images can be seen at: https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch/case/philip-morris/settlement-images.

Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund was one of several public health intervenors.


United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 99-CV-2496 (PLF) (2022).

  • United States
  • Dec 6, 2022
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia


Plaintiff United States


  • Altria Group, formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • Philip Morris USA, Inc.
  • ITG Brands, LLC
  • Commonwealth Brands, Inc.
  • Commonwealth-Altadis, Inc.

Third Party

  • Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • American Lung Association
  • Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights
  • National African American Tobacco Prevention Network

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product