Note that the following content was published in 2010.

Legacy's counter-view to the messages from the tobacco industry

Lorillard Tobacco Company, the manufacturer of Newport, the nation’s top selling menthol brand, has launched a website,  According to Lorillard, the website’s purpose is to provide “scientific information about menthol and its use in cigarettes.”  The site has debuted just as the FDA is actively considering whether to prohibit the use of menthol in cigarettes.

Should a company that makes more than a billion dollars a year[i] selling a deadly product be a reliable source of information regarding that product and its ingredients?  Newport accounts for 90% of Lorillard’s sales volume and nearly all of its profits.[ii]  Does it matter that a decision by the FDA to prohibit the use of menthol in tobacco products is therefore likely to threaten Lorillard’s very existence?  Or that Lorillard was found guilty, along with other major U.S. tobacco companies, of lying to the American people for more than 50 years about the devastating health effects of smoking, the addictiveness of nicotine, and the harmfulness of secondhand smoke?[iii]  Or that the court also found the company had manipulated the nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them more addictive and deceived smokers into falsely believing that light cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes?[iv]  When you are looking for dependable information about the health effects, addictiveness, and social costs of menthol cigarettes or any other tobacco product, we ask that you consider your source.

The purpose of this website is to provide accurate andindependent information about menthol and the potential consequences of a menthol ban.  This site is sponsored by Legacy, a national public health foundation dedicated to creating a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit.  Legacy has urged the FDA to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in tobacco products, based on the fact that it makes it easier for youth to take up a deadly addiction, deters smokers from quitting, and is marketed to minority communities that often bear a disproportionate burden of tobacco-related disease.  Below are some of the claims Lorillard makes on its website and our responses.  Legacy will continue to monitor Lorillard’s public statements and respond when warranted.

More on Menthol:


[i] Lorillard’s gross profit in 2009 was $1.906 billion.  Lorillard Press Release, Lorillard, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual 2009 Results (2010, Feb. 8).  Retrieved from
[ii] Bary, A. Will Lorillard Meet Its Match, Smart Money (2009, March 25).  Retrieved from
[iii] United States v. Philip Morris, 449 F. Supp. 2d 1, 146, 209, 723 (D.D.C. 2006) aff’d, 566 F.3d 1095 (D.C.Cir. 2009), cert. denied __ U.S. ___ (2010).
[iv] Id. at 308, 315, 329-33, 336-37, 347-48, 370-71,  430, 460, 474-75, 487-88, 499-500, 507-512, 554-560.