In the other issue appealed to the nation's highest court, the industry said the generalized jury findings rested on evidence, arguments and theories of liability that were preempted by a federal law, the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act.
A Miami jury ruled in 2000 that the tobacco companies deceived smokers about the dangers of cigarettes and ordered the companies to pay $145 billion to ailing Florida smokers, estimated to number about 700,000.
The case, filed by Miami Beach pediatrician Howard Engle in 1994, was the first smokers' lawsuit to be certified as a class action.
But a Florida appeals court overturned the punitive damages award and decertified the class action, a ruling upheld by the Florida Supreme Court.
Defendants in the case included Altria Group's Philip Morris USA unit; the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Brown & Williamson units of Reynolds American; Loews' Lorillard Tobacco unit, which trades as Carolina Group; and Vector Group's Liggett.