The Tobacco Issue Essay Research Paper The

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The Tobacco Issue: Essay, Research Paper The Tobacco Issue: Where the Responsibility Lies Political-Legal Issues: The legal and political issues surrounding the tobacco industry include whether or not tobacco companies should be held liable for tobacco-related deaths of smokers and those related to second-hand smoke, as well as whether or not elected officials should be accepting money from the tobacco industry in order to win elections. When deciding where the responsibility lies in the case of tobacco, the facts can be turned to favor either side on the issue. However, the tobacco industry has followed the government s guidelines, since guidelines have been established, while the government seems to want to place blame for peoples habits on the manufacturers of products

that people choose to use. Tobacco Litigation: The first issue to examine is the issue surrounding the use of the judicial system in finding responsibility for the epidemic surrounding the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry is the defendant in the majority of cases brought before the judiciary and, historically, the majority of the cases have been decided in favor of the industry. In a landmark case in 1988, the tobacco industry won a huge victory against Rose Cipollone. Ms. Cipollone died a horribly painful death from cancer. The defendant in the case was Philip Morris. Philip Morris council argued that it was the woman s choice to smoke. This woman had even testified that she had gone to church every Sunday to pray that she would not get lung cancer. She knew the risks

involved with smoking and chose to continue smoking. Philip Morris won the case. (Byrne, 189-190). For years the tobacco industry won case after case involving cancer victims that had smoked. Even today, much of the litigation by smokers has been decided in favor of the industry. In July of 1999 the Louisiana District Court, 19th District decided the case of Robert Gilboy et al. V. The American Tobacco Co., et al. in favor of the defense. The jury was not convinced that 45 years of smoking had caused Mr. Gilboy s lung cancer. In the case of the Estate of Burl Butler, et al. V. Philip Morris, Inc., et al., the Jones County, Mississippi Circuit Court, 2nd District jury found the tobacco industry defendants not liable for the alleged second-hand smoke related wrongful death of Mr.

Butler. This case was decided in June of 1999. An important win for the defense was gained in Kansas City, Missouri in May of 1999. The case of Michelle Steele et al. V. Brown and Williamson Corp. was decided in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. The trial was the result of a wrongful death suit brought by the children of Charles Steele. The children were suing the tobacco company for their father s death by lung cancer at age 56. Mr. Steele had smoked cigarettes for years. The outcome in this trial is not as important as the comments made by the jury foreman in the case. Mr. White, the jury foreman, was quoted as saying that Mr. Steele knew what he was doing. He knew that cigarettes were bad for him, but that they gave him pleasure. He decided that the pleasure outweighed the

dangers. (Trials, 1-3). While there have been some significant victories for the defense, there have been several recent verdicts from the judicial system in favor of the plaintiffs. The tobacco industry has already paid out billions of dollars in settlements over the past several years. In an April 1999 case, Charles Connor V. Lorillard et al., a six-person jury found in favor of the plaintiff for liability in the death of a former Kent smoker. The jury awarded $2 million in punitive damages and $225,000 in compensatory damages to Mr. Connor. The case was decided in a Baltimore, Maryland City Circuit Court. In March of 1999, Philip Morris suffered a loss in the case of Joann Williams-Branch v. Philip Morris, Inc. A Portland, Oregon jury ruled that the company was liable for the