- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2002

BOSTON (AP) A federal appeals court struck down a Massachusetts law that would have required tobacco companies to reveal the ingredients in their products, saying the rule essentially destroys trade secrets.
"I simply am not convinced that the Disclosure Act really helps to promote public health," Judge Juan R. Torruella wrote for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The act, passed in 1996, would have required tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in every product they manufacture. It was challenged by a group of tobacco companies led by Philip Morris Inc. immediately after it was passed.
"Obviously, we're pleased with the decision because it protects the company's proprietary interest," said Mike Pfeil, a Philip Morris spokesman.
The state has 90 days to decide whether to appeal Tuesday's ruling to the Supreme Court.
"We're disappointed that the court struck down this important public health measure," said Ann Donlon, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly. She said Mr. Reilly has not decided whether to appeal.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Kermit V. Lipez wrote that disclosing harmful tobacco additives "undeniably would serve the state's goal of protecting public health," outweighing any economic harm to tobacco companies.
Texas and Minnesota require tobacco companies to share some information about tobacco additives with health officials but not the public, and the companies have not challenged those laws.
Former gubernatorial candidate Warren Tolman, who drafted the act as a state senator in 1996, said the ruling was no surprise.
"Whether we had won or the tobacco companies had won, there was always an expectation that this case would go to the Supreme Court," Mr. Tolman said.

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