MO_Sugar Posted May 21, 2004 Share Posted May 21, 2004 La. jury orders tobacco firms to pay $500M Cigarette makers ordered to help fund stop-smoking programs The Associated Press Updated: 3:01 p.m. ET May 21, 2004NEW ORLEANS - A jury Friday ordered the tobacco industry to pay $590 million for nicotine patches, telephone hot lines, advertising and other programs to help Louisiana smokers kick the habit. Legal experts believe the class-action lawsuit is the first case in which a jury has found that tobacco companies should pay for such programs. Lawyers for the smokers had wanted $1 billion — an amount tobacco lawyers deemed excessive. They said two to three years of programs, at up to $9 million a year, would give the state’s smokers time to get counseling and try various aids to quit smoking. The lawsuit had wanted the smoking cessation programs to last up to 25 years, but jurors set them at 10 years. The verdict came in the second phase of a lengthy trial. In July, the same jury found that cigarette makers had deceived the public with an addictive product and schemed to market cigarettes to children. It rejected calls for medical monitoring for present and former smokers, but said the industry should provide free smoking cessation programs. The current phase was to determine how much the industry should spend on the programs and what those programs should be. A third phase, without the jury, will be used to determine how the programs are run. The jury heard about two months of testimony and deliberated for three days before returning the verdict. The $590 million will also go toward supplies of nicotine gum and grants for anti-smoking programs in church groups and other organizations. None of the smokers in the lawsuit can get individual damages. The plaintiffs include any Louisiana resident who smoked before the mid-1990s, when the suit was filed. The defendants are R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, Philip Morris USA and Brown & Williamson. Poor Babies NOT!!!! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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