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State Sues UST Over Tobacco Ads

From Bloomberg News

State Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer on Wednesday accused UST Inc., the maker of Skoal chewing tobacco, of violating a 1998 settlement by advertising the brand at drag races where drivers were as young as 9 years old.

Skoal’s sponsorship of two National Hot Rod Assn. meets violated the national settlement of tobacco litigation, which bars use of cigarette and smokeless brands in sponsorships of events involving youths under 18 years of age, Lockyer said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Diego.

UST was able “to advertise pervasively” at the events, placing “Skoal Racing” signs across big-screen displays, plastering the Skoal name on dragsters and selling Skoal hats, clothing and toy cars, said the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary penalties.

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Greenwich, Conn.-based UST didn’t immediately comment.

California notified UST last year that its sponsorships violated the master settlement, Lockyer said. The company modified its agreement with the National Hot Rod Assn. to end some but not all sponsorships, he said.

UST shares fell 4 cents to $44.13.


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