BAT close to settling lawsuits

BAT and fellow cigarette companies in the US last night looked close to reaching a landmark settlement to resolve hundreds of lawsuits, which together could be worth $300bn, filed by smokers and state governments seeking to recoup healthcare costs. According to reports in the Washington Post, sources close to the talks have revealed that most of the major issues have been resolved and an agreement could be announced this week. Christine Gregoire, Washington's attorney general said yesterday: "This comprehensive plan is coming together. I remain cautiously optimistic that we'll get it done." Henry Waxman, a US Republican opposed to the tobacco industry and in contact with White House chiefs, said yesterday that a breakthrough in the talks looked imminent. Reports say that in preparation for the announcement, negotiators have launched a campaign to woo public health groups, lawyers, the White House and the news media.

A BAT spokesman in London said he was not aware of any development in settlement talks while a representative of BAT's US tobacco arm Brown & Williamson refused to comment on the negotiations. Roy Burry of US broker Oppenheimer said that any agreement would touch on virtually every aspect of the industry from how cigarettes are advertised and marketed to the level of nicotine used and the price of each pack. Wayne Gerry, tobacco analyst at Kleinwort Benson said that the timing of settlement was uncertain: "We are all sitting here waiting. When it is announced the full ramifications will take most people a week or so to digest. Hell, just look at the logistics".

Though there are many issues still unresolved, those close to the talks say that several matters have already been settled. Cigarette makers could be asked to pay $10bn in cash upfront, with around 70 per cent going to individual states to pay for medical costs to treat sick smokers. The cigarette companies are then expected to make payments of $10bn-$15bn a year in perpetuity. On top the US tobacco industry might have to pay $1.5bn for a campaign aimed at dissuading smoking. In addition, individual lawsuits are expected to be permitted with the total awards to successful plaintiffs capped at perhaps $4bn a year. Analysts point out that in 40 years of lawsuits, the industry has not paid a cent for a health-related claims.

Other issues which may have been settled include an agreement to ban smoking in public buildings except for bars, restaurants, casinos and prisons and there would be bans on tobacco advertising on billboards and on sponsorship of sporting events and a ban on cartoon characters such as Joe Camel.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) - Hertfordshire/Middlesex

£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style