When federal judge Jack Weinstein ruled yesterday that he had found substantial evidence that the so-called light cigarettes were just as dangerous as regular cigarettes and the manufacturers knew it, it opened a potential flood gate of litigants. That’s why Judge Weinstein argued in favor of granting the class action status. Interestingly, the case which was first filed in 2004, does not claim that smokers suffered personal injury. Rather, the suit argues that industry defrauded consumers beginning as early as 1971, when Philip Morris began selling Marlboro Lights, the first light cigarette.
As the 2006 election season heats up, two of the largest industries in the country are pouring millions of dollars into campaigns to keep their corporate profits rolling. A recent San Francisco Chronicle article on big tobacco, the author states that oil and tobacco are pouring huge sums of money into campaign coffers. Hopefully, voters will be swayed by good public policy and not the big money of these corporations.
Now that U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s ruling makes it more difficult for big tobacco companies to market their deadly products in an overtly deceptive fashion, their marketing gurus will have to come up with new ways to keep smokers hooked to their habits. Unless the new court ruling is overturned on appeal, cigarette manufacturers will have to abandon marketing words such as “light” and “low tar”. We’ll see what they’re able to come up with as far as new marketing ploys.
Victims of big tobacco will finally get their day in court after a US District Judge ruled yesterday that the cigarette manufacturers have conspired to withhold the deadly effects and addictive qualities of tobacco from the public. The ruling found Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, British American Tobacco, and Lorillard Tobacco guilty of misleading the public about tobacco’s adverse health effects.
A US District Judge ruled yesterday that big tobacco companies conspired for years to hide the deadly effects of cigarette smoke from the public. This isn’t suprising to most of us who’ve followed these battles. However, it will most likely lead to a groundswell of lawsuits against big tobacco. For decades now, the tobacco marketing strategy has focused on youth and many have suffered the deadly effects of the promotional campaign. It’s now time to pay the piper.