Class Action Tobacco Law Suits

As everyone knows, I am quitting smoking. I realize thst it is a hard thing to do. I realize that tobacco is as addictive as anything else out there, if not more so. And I realize that it’s very possible that the damage has already been done to me, and that I will die young of some horrible disease brought on my my several years of smoking.

That said, ths Class Action suit in Florida against the tobacco companies is ridiculous in my opinion. I have always known the dangers involved with smoking. This despite I grew up in a house with both parents who smoked.

While I could see some person who got hooked before the warnings (and when was that, the '50s?), they are far and few between, and I would say anyone who started smoking in the '60s or later (which would mean that the youngest people who could claim ignorance would be in their 50’s-60’s) make up only a handful of active smokers.

And even those folks had ample time to hear the studies and say, “Wow, this stuff is killing me! I should quit!” Yes, it’s hard, but if I can do it, anyone can.

I find these suits to be outrageous, and a perfect example of people not taking responsibility for their own actions. And while I have no love for the tobacco companies which supressed information about the dangers and addictive properties of nicotine, I believe they have paid tremendously for such activities… I mean, they are talking about every active smoker in Florida will get a piece of the pie here - several BILLIONS of dollars!

What do you folks think?

Yer pal,

Four days, 16 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds.
187 cigarettes not smoked, saving $23.40.
Life saved: 15 hours, 35 minutes.

Agree completeley with you-everybody knows its bad for you by now. As an interesting aside, China and several othe foreign governments have indicated that they want to seek redress for smoking-related illnesses (experienced bytheir people from smoking US-brand cigarettes) in US courts! So we will have the ridiculous spectacle of an industry being sued on behalf of governments who themselves have their own tobacco monopolies! Doesn’t make a lot of sense-until you consider the MONEY…its ALWAYS the MONEY!

Amen, Satan.

Often the point of this type of class action lawsuit is not what it seems.

It’s actually similar to a Ponzi (sp?) scheme.

In Ponzi, a very few people at the very beginning get a payoff.

In this type of class action lawsuit (as with the other tobacco lawsuit, silicone breast implants, etc), a very small number of lawyer gets paid a TON of money, while the people supposedly getting the “benefits” get a few dribs and drabs.

Lawyers in this case are like an oil or coal company looking for resources (ie, something to sue). Find it, and mine it.

I think the tobacco companies are enormously sleazy and the one good thing about all this is that it has forced some of their more egregious acts of sleaziness into the spotlight.

Even so, I don’t think this sort of lawsuit is useful for the reasons well-summarized by Mjollnir.

I remember after I moved to the USA (late 1980s) seeing full-page ads taken out in major magazines (like Time Magazines) saying “there is no proof that cigarette smoke causes cancer.” Who was paying for those ads?

Why, the National Coalition for Believing That Cigarette Smoke Doesn’t Cause Cancer [TM], of course.

Gee…breast implants, tobacco, guns…

Anybody want to start a pool on what’s next?

How about I sue TV manufacturers for damage to my eyesight from sitting too close? After all, the technology is available, and should have been implemented, to make TV’s with barriers that prevent people from sitting too closely…

How about the TV producers/production companies that have made (occasionally) interesting programs, causing me to watch TV in the first place (Must-See-TV: It’s a drug, I’m addicted!)?

Government by Lawsuit nicely summarizes the issue (for me at least; with others, results may vary. Some people have reported slight side effects such as general enlightenment, broadened horizons and expanded thinking caspacity. As always, consult your intellect before forming a new opinion).

“Of course, Must-See-TV has pretty much eroded what little intellect I had to start with…”

Good one tracer! But as far back as the second half of the 1980s, tobacco companies were still doing their best to minimize in consumer’s minds the harm done by tobacco. I don’t see any problem with them having to pay reparation for their false advertising and deceptive practices.

My cousin once showed me a package of cigaretters (Marlboros) that he had purchased in Western Africa (I believe Senegal) in the early 1990s. There was no warning printed on the package. Should people in Western Africa be compensated if they get lung cancer?

This is a different situation. I am unaware of how well the government in that country made the news that tobacco was harmful in spite of what the tobacco companies were doing (or not doing) there.

If it could be shown that these folks were NOT being told factual information, and DID make an uninformed decision, then YES, i think they would be entitled to some kind of compensation.

But in the United States (of which Florida is a part), I do not feel that you are unaware of the ramifications of smoking, unless you have been living in a cave for the past 30 years (and if that was the case, how on earth did you get tobacco in that cave?)

Yer pal,

Five days, 19 hours, 2 minutes and 31 seconds.
231 cigarettes not smoked, saving $28.97.
Life saved: 19 hours, 15 minutes.

Satan, did you also see my post about the full-age ads taken out by a tobacco company (I’m pretty sure it’s RJ Reynolds, but don’t have a copy of the ad in front of me to prove it), in the second half of the 1980s, stating that there is no proof that cigarettes don’t cause cancer?

The advertisement was written to look like an article, with the word “Advertisement” printed at the top in normal type.

I view that advertisement as misleading at best, and criminal at worst.

No, Arnold, I don’t recall this. However, every package that a consumer bought had warnings all over it, and reliable statistics were plentiful if one simply asked for them.

I mean, beer & wine advertisements don’t show drunk people wrapping their cars around utility poles either - Should we say that their advertising is somehow misleading in spite of all of the warnings and that one can sue the makers of these alcoholic beverages for damages caused by wrapping their cars around poles?

Yer pal,

Five days, 22 hours, 0 minutes and 41 seconds.
236 cigarettes not smoked, saving $29.58.
Life saved: 19 hours, 40 minutes.

Well, not for wrapping my car around a pole (or a pedestrian), but I think I’m going to sue some beer companies for misleading advertising.

I have yet to become more attractive, wittier, or healthier from drinking beer. I have NOT ONCE had beautiful women drape themselves over me.



(Two weeks, three days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 39 seconds. 207 cigarettes not smoked, saving $41.47. Life saved: 17 hours, 15 minutes.)

Bad analogy. The advertisement I am referring to tried to deny some of the health hazards incurred by smoking.

A better analogy would be, what if a wine maker took out an advertisement saying “There is no proof that alcohol impairs you driving abilities”, or “There is no proof that alcohol can damage your liver”, etc… In my view, that would also be misleading, and perhaps criminal.

Another point: Jeffrey Wigand (main character in the movie “The Insider”) released company documents proving that tobacco companies deliberately manipulated nicotine levels in cigarettes in order to keep people addicted. This happened long after warning labels appeared on cigarettes packages.

The concept is completely hypocrital. One agency of government sues tobacco companies with tax dollars while another subsidizes tobacco farmers. The lawsuits have two purposes:

  1. To increase the size, power and influence of the federal government and increase money into its already bloated coffers.

  2. To rally the politically correct crowd into more a “We really did something good now” frenzy.

If tobacco is bad and if politicians had balls, they’d outlaw it. They don’t want to outlaw it. They want to milk it. Liberalism needs ‘evil’ to survive.


Yeah, Arnold, I knew the analogy was bad.

The fact is that thanks to fines, taxes, and a ton of other things from rulings which are a little more fair than this class action suit, the tobacco companies have already paid millions and millions of dollars for this.

I maintain that regardless of unscrupulous activities by tobacco companies, everyone with a brain in their head realized the stuff was dangerous. Even if every ad of there’s said, “More healthy for you than granola bars,” the warning labels and organizations such as the American Cancer Society made it very clear that smoking will kill you.

Yer pal,

Six days, 1 hour, 1 minute and 14 seconds.
241 cigarettes not smoked, saving $30.21.
Life saved: 20 hours, 5 minutes.

friend satan,

good luck! quitting is tough, but it does get easier. as an incentive, try putting the money you have saved by not buying cigarettes into a savings account.

(smoke free for 1 year,4 months,15 days,10 hours. i quit 11:30 pm, on 11/30/98.)

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity -Kahlil Gibran

What do you think of the concept of class-action suits as one of the ways citizens can hold corporations accountable for product safety? It certainly gets more PR than one person deciding not to buy the product (the other option).

Cogita tute

I feel like a thread-killer.

For better (or for worse, depending on your point of view), the USA government has taken into its hands the health of its citizens, meaning that even an indigent is entitled to health care. Who is going to pay for the medical expenses of a person without insurance that has health problems due to tobacco smoking?

I personally think that if a corporation[ul][li]is going to sell a product to the public that has no health benefits, in fact is very detrimental to your physical condition;[/li][li]heavily advertises that product;[/li]makes secret efforts to ensure that people will have difficulty in stopping their use of that product;[/ul]then I have no problem with them being held responsible for the health costs incurred by the government to treat people whose illness is caused by the use of their product.