Lawsuits Against Big Tobacco… Justified or Not? Essay

Words: 1993
Pages: 8

Since the first major lawsuit settled against tobacco companies in 1998, there has been much controversy over whether or not these lawsuits are justified. On the pro side of the argument there is much evidence to support that the tobacco industries have long known about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Furthermore that this knowledge warrants the need for compensation. In addition the industry has concealed this knowledge from the public. On the con side of the argument evidence shows that these lawsuits have been based on false claims primarily in regard to health care costs for smokers. Furthermore, the regulations set by the settlement of the 1998 multistate lawsuit have established a legal president which allows individuals
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The paper states, "The wave of lawsuits against the industry certainly hasn't harmed the individuals who, for example, designed the Joe Camel ad campaign or raised nicotine levels in cigarettes." The paper also refers to the price increases of cigarettes as a result of the settlement paid to the states. The paper states, "Rather than losing profits and going out of business, cigarette companies have simply raised cigarette prices… It is smokers, not tobacco companies, who are footing the bill for anti-tobacco lawsuits." The paper goes on to quote Stuart Taylor Jr. of the National Journal as saying, "the mass litigation… quite clearly operates not as a punishment, but as a national tax that no representative body ever sought to impose." Though this opinion is somewhat supported by the fact of cigarette price increases, it is still only an opinion. However, I agree with this opinion and the reasoning behind it. My opinion is that ever since the lawsuits began the p-rice of cigarettes have increased. In effect, the tobacco company is turning the bill for the settlement over to the consumers. One problem the pro side has had to face are the facts in regard to the difference in the cost of health care due to smoking and those not related to smoking. Another problem is why the government never banned the tobacco industry when they did find out how damaging