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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Who Can Bring Big Tobacco To Justice?

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The Christian Science Monitor asks the logical question about Big Tobacco:

Big tobacco: 50 years of lies. Now what?

But, it provides an answer that is a non-starter.

For 50 years, big tobacco has “lied” to the American public about the devastating health effects of smoking, a US judge ruled last week. That’s a moral victory for the federal government, which initiated this massive court case seven years ago. Sadly, the ruling will do little to remedy the problem of tobacco use.

So Ms. Kessler has found that big tobacco is a fraudulent bunch of racketeers, but she can’t do much about it. Who can?

That would have to be Congress. Legislation has languished that would give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory oversight of tobacco – a legal industry, yes, but also one that sells an addictive substance and that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. Kessler’s hands were tied, but that’s not the case with Congress. If it can resist $22 million in tobacco lobbying, it can act.

The $22 million in tobacco lobbying cannot be ignored by politicians. That is the reality. Let’s not pretend that doing the right thing will trump campaign contributions.

But, Florida has told us who can do something about the past and continuing fraud that is Big Tobacco. It is the addicted victims of smoking. The Florida Supreme Court has empowered individual smokers and the families of deceased smokers to bring Big Tobacco to justice. The Engle decision permits thousands of individual lawsuits and provides strong holdings of negligence to be used against the industry. The victims aren’t concerned about campaign contributions. They will seek compensation from juries throughout the State of Florida. And, the combined voices of these jurors will cost Big Tobacco much of its fraudulently earned profits.

The Christian Science Monitor asks the logical question about Big Tobacco:

Big tobacco: 50 years of lies. Now what?

But, it provides an answer that is a non-starter.

For 50 years, big tobacco has “lied” to the American public about the devastating health effects of smoking, a US judge ruled last week. That’s a moral victory for the federal government, which initiated this massive court case seven years ago. Sadly, the ruling will do little to remedy the problem of tobacco use.

So Ms. Kessler has found that big tobacco is a fraudulent bunch of racketeers, but she can’t do much about it. Who can?

That would have to be Congress. Legislation has languished that would give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory oversight of tobacco – a legal industry, yes, but also one that sells an addictive substance and that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. Kessler’s hands were tied, but that’s not the case with Congress. If it can resist $22 million in tobacco lobbying, it can act.

The $22 million in tobacco lobbying cannot be ignored by politicians. That is the reality. Let’s not pretend that doing the right thing will trump campaign contributions.

But, Florida has told us who can do something about the past and continuing fraud that is Big Tobacco. It is the addicted victims of smoking. The Florida Supreme Court has empowered individual smokers and the families of deceased smokers to bring Big Tobacco to justice. The Engle decision permits thousands of individual lawsuits and provides strong holdings of negligence to be used against the industry. The victims aren’t concerned about campaign contributions. They will seek compensation from juries throughout the State of Florida. And, the combined voices of these jurors will cost Big Tobacco much of its fraudulently earned profits.