In The Cigarettes Wars

It appears Betty Bullock may finally receive the justice she so richly deserves. Unfortunately, she’s dead and won’t be able to enjoy it. Betty started smoking cigarettes buy cigarettes during smoking cigarettes’s golden years. She took up the habit in 1956 when she was 17. The Philip Morris buy cigarette online she smoked caused her to develop lung cancer at age 59.

In 2001 she sued Philip Morris. After hearing about Philip Morris’ decade’s long campaign of deceit, a California jury rendered a 28 billion dollar verdict against Philip Morris in 2002. Unfortunately in 2003 Betty Bullock died. Her daughter continued the case and ultimately the damages verdict was reversed on appeal. The case was re-tried and the jury again found Philip Morris’ conduct to have been reprehensible and awarded 13.8 million dollars. Philip Morris appealed yet again, this time all the way to the California Supreme court. The court recently affirmed the jury’s verdict.

In doing so, the California Supreme court agreed with the jury’s assessment of the evidence. They too found Philip Morris’ conduct to have been “extremely reprehensible.” Luckily for anti-cigarette advocates they took care to chronicle some of the evidence that supported their finding.

In response to Philip Morris’ claim that the award was unconstitutionally excessive, the court found that the company’s conduct warranted punishment in line with the verdict. The court found that Philip Morris knew that the smoking cigarettes caused cancer yet, conducted a decade’s long publicity campaign designed to obscure the truth. The company hired researchers to create junk science in an effort to generate a false controversy about the dangers of tobacco. This strategy was described in a previously confidential industry document as, “Brilliantly conceived.”

The court found, as the jury had, that Philip Morris scientists destroyed written test results and the company conducted biologic testing overseas to avoid having the results subpoenaed in the US. Despite having the ability to remove nicotine from cigarettes, the company refused to do so and in fact, added chemicals to cigarettes store to make them more addictive.

This case once again highlights the pain, suffering and morbidity Big Tobacco has foisted upon the very customers from whom they accepted billions and billions of dollars. An entire generation of Americans, some say the “Greatest Generation” was lured into Big Tobacco’s trap, as teens, during a time when it was glamorous to smoke. No one knew smoking cigarettes caused any harm. Doctors frequently appeared in print and radio ads:

“Not a Cough in a Carload”
“More Doctors Smoke Camels”
“Science Discovered it, You can prove it”
“20,679 Physicians say Luckies are Less Irritating”

These and many just like them were all used as pitch lines for cancer sticks. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball pitched the smokes Betty Bullock smoked.

This ad, from Philip Morris was likely seen by Betty Bullock. Just what was the “Miracle of Marlboro?”

After killing her, Philip Morris Betty Bullock and her family through ten years of court battles attempting to avoid accepting any responsibility for Mrs. Bullock’s death. They have spent millions of dollars stalling, delaying and obfuscating. It is no coincidence that Big Tobacco’s litigation strategy is eerily similar to the decade’s long conspiracy it conducted to deceive its customers.

It’s ironic but telling that this decision was handed down almost to the day from the filing of Big Tobacco’s law suit against the United States Government claiming that the new warnings required on online cigarettes are unconstitutional. The suit claims that requiring the new warnings inhibits Tobacco’s rights to free speech. In fact, what it inhibits is Tobacco’s ability to lure children into the habit. It also might give smokers more motivation to attempt to quit.

Big Tobacco markets and sells death. They are allowed to sell the only legal product in this country that when used exactly as designed and intended (and encouraged by the companies) will kill you. They will continue to spend millions upon millions of dollars, all on the backs of their customers, to preserve their right to addict and kill them. Common Philip Morris, pay this verdict and go back to recruiting “replacement smokers” as they are referred to in your co-conspirator R.J. Reynolds’ documents.

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