Florida Tobacco Litigation is Unclear - Searcy Denney

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John Hopkins

Florida Tobacco Litigation is Clouded by Smoke



It seems clear that it is not clear… or is it the things we know do not include the unknowns…or is it the things we don’t know are known unknowns?

In any event, based on comments I have seen in blogs, one thing is clear: the public does not understand the lawsuits that are occurring against Big Tobacco here in Florida.

The lawsuits in Florida, known as the Engle cases, largely involve people who became addicted to cigarettes and nicotine back in the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, and the 1950’s. The cases involve evidence of tobacco companies paying big bucks to:

  • convince the public that cigarettes were good for you
  • convince the public that nicotine was not addictive
  • convince the public that smoking was a positive social choice
  • convince the public that smoking did not cause cancer, emphysema, or other diseases

When Big Tobacco was required to place warning labels on cigarette packs, they spent huge sums of money backing articles and other efforts designed to convince the public about the safety of cigarettes; that stated no reliable link between smoking and cancer, much less other diseases, could be established; and that a grand conspiracy existed against cigarette smokers and the tobacco companies.

Bottom line? The Big Tobacco lawyers now want to reinvent history. They want to convince everyone that tobacco companies did not spend massive sums on advertising to convince the public that smoking was good for you, actually healthy for you.

They want to paint smokers who got hooked before the public was really aware of the dangers of smoking as making bad decisions. What they want the public to remember is only history that existed after warnings were given to the public and after all the smoke they could generate to hide the truth had dissipated.

Just check out this Camel ad from 1949:

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Or this one from the 1950’s:

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