Washington - The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case that could determine whether tobacco companies may face new liabilities from smoker lawsuits filed over the alleged deceptive marketing of "light" cigarettes under state laws.

The case comes as states have issued a total of $55.3 billion tobacco bonds between 1999 and 2008 that securitized annual payments from tobacco companies under the Master Settlement Agreement, according to Thomson Reuters. Last year's $16.9 billion of tobacco bond sales was the largest annual volume since the debt was first sold in 1999.

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