Tobacco Settlement Near?

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: TIME's Sam Allis reports that a tobacco settlement is likely to be announced Friday, but some serious sticking points remain. The key issues to be resolved are whether the companies would be granted immunity from future prosecution, and just how much big tobacco would pay in punitive damages. The American Lung Association is steadfastly refusing to be a part of any settlement that would include guarantees of immunity or limit the FDA's ability to regulate tobacco. The association is also worried that the rush to reach settlement, even one that includes an estimated $300 billion payment of damages from big tobacco, will in the end be a disservice to the American consumer. One possible solution to the impasse: All sides might agree in principle to the broad outlines of the deal, with the messy details to be worked out later. Wall Street was optimistic: Philip Morris rose 1 7/8 to 47 3/8, while RJR Nabisco finished up 1 3/8 at 35 7/8.