Obama administration files appeal in tobacco case

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Cigarettes are seen in a tobacco shop in New York April 1, 2009.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Cigarettes are seen in a tobacco shop in New York April 1, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to consider allowing the federal government to force tobacco companies to fund smoking cessation and public education programs, which could cost the industry billions of dollars.

U.S. |  Health

The administration’s filed the appeal after a federal judge and an appeals court rejected the government’s attempt to impose such remedies on the industry as redress for violations under U.S. racketeering laws.

Altria Co’s Philip Morris USA unit, the nation’s biggest cigarette company, itself asked the high court on Friday to overturn part of the decision on the grounds that the racketeering statute was improperly invoked and that the appeals court was overly deferential to the trial court.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini, editing by Gerald E McCormick)

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