New York City takes tobacco firms to court
Friday 18 October 1996
The action, announced by the city's Republican mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, will deepen the shadow that has been castover the tobacco industry by the serial lawsuits pending in the United States and by anti-smoking regulations approved by the Clinton administration.
New York is the largest US city to challenge the tobacco companies in court and the first on America's east coast. Other cities to have acted already include Los Angeles and San Francisco. Prominent among the 16 states to have filed lawsuits are Florida and Minnesota.
The defendants in the lawsuits include British American Tobacco (BAT), whose largest US tobacco subsidiary is Brown & Williamson. Defeat in any one of the cases could cost BAT and the other companies, including Philip Morris, billions of dollars in damages.
There was some relief at Brown & Williamson last night, however, after a federal judge in Lousiana threw out a case lodged against the company by the son of a former smoker with lung cancer. The lawsuit accused the company of failing to provide sufficient warning of the dangers of tobacco use.
Pressure on Mr Giuliani to take the litigation path has come from a group of health interests, known as the Coalition for a Smoke-Free City. The group had been frustrated that the state of New York, under the leadership of Republican governor, George Pataki, had declined to go to the courts on the issue.
In a letter written to the Mayor, the coalition argued: "The tobacco cartel has lied and misled the public about the dangers of tobacco addiction for decades. New York City's healthcare bill attributed to tobacco addiction exceeds $2bn annually. Recovering these costs from the tobacco cartel would be popular, fair and a major boost to the City's treasury."
The significance of the lawsuit was underscored by Richard Daynard, chairman of the influential Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University in Boston. "New York is not only the largest city to file, it's larger than most of the states that have filed," he said.
By contrast, two important tobacco-growing states, Kentucky and North Carolina, this week joined a lawsuit filed by US cigarette manufacturers against the Clinton administration. The lawsuit challenges the legality of moves by the Food and Drug Administration to reclassify tobacco products as addictive drugs and limit the sales of cigarettes to minors.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...