A US anti-smoking group has defeated a legal challenge to its advertising campaigns.

The American Legacy Foundation, which is dedicated to discouraging young people from taking up the habit and helping adults to quit, overcame objections to its radio and TV commercials filed in 2002 by tobacco titan Lorillard.

Delaware's Court of Chancery ruled the ALF ads did not vilify the tobacco industry and did not violate a tobacco litigation settlement.

Judge Stephen Lamb said: "The messages are based on well-known public facts [namely that] tobacco companies target young consumers to begin smoking, tobacco companies manipulate the chemical composition of cigarettes to increase the addictiveness of the nicotine, and smoking kills".

ALF was established in 1999 as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement between the nation's largest tobacco companies and attorneys general in forty-six states. The companies fund the smoking awareness programs, part of which includes public infomercials.

The agreement sets limits on ALF's activities, including that its ads cannot constitute a "personal attack on, or vilification of" any person or company.

North Carolina-headquartered Lorillard has so far declined to comment.

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff