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Supreme Court to Decide if Maine Smokers Can Sue

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Monday over whether tobacco companies can be sued under state law for allegedly duping smokers into believing that "low-tar" and "light" cigarettes are healthier than regular cigarettes.

A group of Maine smokers filed a class action against Philip Morris and its parent company, Altria, claiming the companies' misleading advertising violated state laws against deceptive business practices.

Altria argued that its cigarettes are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, not the state of Maine. A federal judge dismissed the case, but the 1st Circuit reinstated it.

The justices will decide whether the state claims are pre-empted by federal law and regulations.

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