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Smoking Guns Point at Cigarette Companies: Uncovering the Blame for over 25 Million American Deaths?

Miami Jury Hits RJ Reynolds-Phillip Morris with 42.5M in Damages following Florida Woman’s Fatal Lung Cancer – What’s Next for Vaping?

MIAMI, Nov 15, 2019 – Are Cigarette companies responsible for the death of a 47-year-old woman who smoked a pack-and-a-half of cigarettes a day for 30 years? After learning and digesting the historical evidence of the cigarette industry’s fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, the industry’s youth marketing efforts targeting children as young as 12 years old, as well as the industry’s previously secret chemical engineering of the modern cigarette to make it as addictive as possible, a Miami jury said yes, loud and clear.

That’s the verdict they handed down in a Miami-Dade County courtroom last week when R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris were hit with a total of $42.5 million in damages in a retrial stemming from the 1996 cancer death of a Florida smoker (Gloger v. R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris, 2011-CA-23377).

Ratzan Law Group, the Miami-based firm representing the family of Irene Gloger, successfully argued that tobacco companies placed a dangerous and addictive product on the market and conspired to hide the dangers of smoking to the married medical professional, who died in 1996 from lung cancer. Gloger began smoking as a child at age 14. After repeated attempts to quit smoking, she finally was able to stop one year prior to her death. From 1953 until today, over 25 million Americans have died due to cigarettes and tens of millions more have suffered cigarette related illness.

• The verdict includes $15 million in compensatory damages, as well as $11 million in punitive verdicts against Philip Morris and $16.5 against R.J. Reynolds.

• The verdict more than doubles the $17.5 million jurors awarded in 2018 in a case that was thrown out in March by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals, which found the trial court erred by not instructing Kenneth Gloger to refrain from using the word “lung” in his testimony concerning the lung cancer diagnosis rendered by his wife’s doctors.

• Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Although cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product, E-cigarettes or “vaping” products have now contributed to more than 2,000 cases of lung injury in the United States, and the CDC has recently declared an ecigarette nicotine epidemic among America’s youth (18 and under).

• Researchers found that despite the type of tobacco product that was used, if a young person first used a flavored product, they were more likely to continue using tobacco one year later. They also found that the younger the person, the more likely they were to use a flavored product.

• As flavored vaping products become increasingly popular among youth, research has found that E-cigarettes may be more harmful to a smoker’s heart than traditional tobacco cigarettes. If e-cigarettes turn out to be worse for a smoker’s heart than tobacco cigarettes, the health implications are enormous.

• Additional recent research has implicated nicotine e-cigarettes as causing lung cancer in laboratory mice, has identified changes consistent with emphysema in humans, seizures in humans, and other forms of lung injury in humans.

• With more than three dozen vaping-related deaths in young Americans to date, the Trump administration has hinted at banning flavored vaping products.