The Santa Fe Natural Tobacco company, behind the American Spirit cigarette brand, is the target of a class-action lawsuit, and they have asked to meet with the FDA to discuss their marketing techniques.

The complaints are made from a law firm from Florida, based on the accusation that the cigarette company is deceiving consumers by making them believe that their cigarettes are healthier. Documents from the lawsuit warn the FDA of the use of words like “natural” or “additive free” in their marketing and advertising strategies, violating the law.

Natural American Spirit is an American brand of cigarette and fine tobacco products, manufactured in the United States by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. The company was founded in 1982 by Bill Drake, author of “The Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco”, Robert Marion and Eb Wicks, a plumbing contractor who took out a loan to finance the startup. Credit:

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the lawsuit was filed by Justin Sproule, seeking damage compensation to him and other people who, “smoke American Spirits because they have been deceived by claims, labels and advertising into regarding them as safer than other cigarettes.”

Moreover, the Santa Fe New Mexican stated, “Santa Fe Natural Tobacco already is subject to a Federal Trade Commission consent order, entered in 2000, that requires the company’s advertising to include a disclosure that say ‘no additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette’ and ‘organic tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.'”

In August this year, the FDA send a letter to the company remembering them that they have the authority, since 2009, to regulate the warnings on tobacco products. They told them they were planning some “corrective actions”, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. This came just after the company launched a massive campaign with ads in magazines like Time, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair and US Weekly.

The spokesman of the company Seth Moskowitz said Friday that he couldn’t make any comment on the lawsuit due to a company policy.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, American Spirit sales increased by 86 percent from 2009 to 2014, as other companies are in red numbers, with a 17 percent decline in cigarette sales in the United States during the same period, proving the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.

Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican