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Thursday, March 17, 2016

A history of "safe" products, cigarettes

"Tobacco is safe!"

For decades the US cigarette industry claimed cigarettes did not cause cancer. There were even TV ads where "doctors" said cigarettes were good for such things as asthma. Here's one old black and white TV ad. Cigarette smoke is actually a cocktail of 5000 chemicals. This list only shows the carcinogens.

There were actually a series of lawsuits that started in 1992. Memos show that cigarette company execs knew cigarettes caused cancer but refused to warn the public.
  1. June 2002: A District Court in Kansas awarded $15 million in punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco after calling the company's conduct "highly blameworthy and deserving of significant punishment." (David Burton vs. R.J. Reynold's Tobacco)
  2. June 2002: A Miami jury held three cigarette companies liable for $37.5 million in a lawsuit involving an ex–smoker who lost his tongue to tobacco–related oral cancer. (Lukacs vs. Philip Morris)
  3. October 2002: A Los Angeles jury issued $28 billion in punitive damages against Philip Morris. This was later reduced to $28 million. (Betty Bullock vs. Philip Morris)
  4. 2003: A Madison Country, Illinois jury awarded $10.1 billion against the tobacco company Philips Morris for deceptive cigarette advertising in a class action led by attorney Stephen Tillery (Price v. Philip Morris)
Eventually a consortium of cigarette companies were forced to pay into a fund to make ad campaigns in the US to publicize the effects of smoking, and to fund stop smoking programs. The cigarette companies now focus their marketing in developing countries. This settlement was called the Tobacco Master Settlement caused cigarette companies to pay for tobacco-related Medicaid expenses forever.

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