Categorized | Opinion

Verdict of $27,010,000.14

By David PeelDavid Peel

A 27 million dollar verdict was recently awarded against big tobacco.  The federal jury in Florida found against Philip Morris USA Inc. in a big way.
Like many of her 1950’s generation, the plaintiff reportedly started smoking when she was just 14 years old. The $27 million verdict included a punitive damages award of 20,760,000 dollars and 14 cents. The 14 cents was symbolic of her age of beginning to smoke. It was shown during litigation that 90 percent of daily cigarette smokers start smoking as teenagers.
The plaintiff showed that big tobacco actually targeted teens, despite their denial of doing so. However, a Philip Morris internal memo stated, “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s regular customer.”
The plaintiff testified that she chose cigarettes that were marketed as “safer” by the defendant. These included Philip Morris’ products like “filter” cigarettes and “light” cigarettes. Evidence that Philip Morris officials knew that “light” cigarettes were no safer was presented.
She developed COPD and will probably not live very long to enjoy the result. This is just more proof of the fact that big tobacco has known for years that their product, when used as directed, will likely shorten your life.  Then, to top it off, they blame you for using them!
If you want to stop smoking, this is as good a day as any.  It is hard. But asphalting your lungs is clearly unhealthy, and a lot more expensive than you might realize.
At $1500 a year, it costs a lot to smoke. But consider the increases in life insurance, health insurance, health care, dental care, medications, and lost time from work, as well as shortened overall lifetimes to work.
When you wind up on disability, which you almost certainly will, you will draw less money as a result of paying in less for shortened time. Non-smokers are less likely to need disability in the fist place.
Smokers take longer to heal from a fracture. Other costs are also issues, like value drops in houses and cars that are smoked in. Trust me, non-smokers know it.
I am not beating up on you, dear smoker.  I am asking you to consider the costs and maybe, this can be the time that you do what the vast majority of smokers have already done: quit.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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