Lawyers for the first cigarette company ever to lose a smoker death suit have begun their attempt to turn defeat into victory by asking the trial judge to set aside the jury's verdict.

At a hearing Monday, Liggett Group Inc. argued that Rose Cipollone, who died of lung cancer in 1984, was not taken in by advertisements that Chesterfield and L&M cigarettes were safe and healthful. The company asked that the $400,000 award by a jury last month to Cipollone's widower be overturned.But lawyers for the widower, Antonio Cipollone, asked for increased damages, arguing that the jury erred by failing to order Liggett to pay damages to Rose's estate as well as to her husband.

U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who presided over the landmark four-month Cipollone trial, reserved decision on both motions.

On June 13, jurors ordered Liggett to pay Cipollone the $400,000 but found that two other tobacco companies, Philip Morris Inc. and Lorillard Inc., were not responsible for Rose Cipollone's illness and death. The three companies manufactured the various brands she smoked for 40 years.