Ben Hills

You could be forgiven for thinking that the global tobacco industry was already on its last gasp if you check out websites such as the one operated by the Tobacco Research Centre at the Northeastern University law school in Boston.

Barely a day goes by without some new blow to the industry:

a New York jury awards $US5.27 million ($7.9 million) to a model who was fired after complaining about second-hand smoke at the agency where she worked;

Boston bans smoking in restaurants and bars;

a Ugandan High Court judge rules that smoking in public places is a violation of non-smokers’ constitutional rights;

a jury in Oregon awards a smoker $US150 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris;

a judge in Illinois orders the same company to pay $US10 billion damages to Illinois consumers of “light” cigarettes;

the European Community files a lawsuit against RJR Nabisco alleging it is involved with Italian and Russian mobs, Latin American drug lords, and in dealings with Iraq which enriched Saddam Hussein’s family, in violation of UN sanctions.

Meantime, the Trauma Foundation (an anti-accident group in San Francisco) says that the tobacco industry buried research on a “safer” cigarette which goes out if left unpuffed, which could have saved many of the 1000 people burnt to death In the US every year in cigarette-started fires.

Publishing Info

Pub: Sydney Morning Herald
Pub date: Saturday 28 June 2003
Edition: Late
Section: News And Features
Sub section: News Review
Page: 35
Word count: 227
Classification: Health/Smoking Law/Cases