American cigarette companies have been honest in highlighting the serious risks of smoking, a lawyer for the tobacco industry has told a US court. In a government lawsuit, tobacco firms are accused of lying about the effects of smoking over a 50-year period.
But a lawyer for Philip Morris said: "It's an unambiguous and clear message that we sell a dangerous product."
The $280bn (£156bn) lawsuit - filed by the Clinton administration in 1999 - is expected to last six months.
Presenting the industry's opening statements, lawyer Ted Wells said the conduct of some tobacco industry officials over the years may have been "regrettable".
But he said changes in how tobacco companies now market their products would help dismiss claims that they misled the public.
Prosecutors want the cigarette firms to surrender $280bn in profits accumulated over the past 50 years and impose tougher rules on marketing their products.
In its lawsuit, the government claims tobacco firms manipulated nicotine levels to increase addiction, targeted teenagers with multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns, lied about the dangers of smoking and ignored research about its impact on health.
A 1953 meeting in New York attended by executives from the country's top five cigarette makers resulted in a "massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public", the lawsuit claims.
The defendants include Philip Morris US, Reynolds American Inc, Lorillard Tobacco, the Leggett Group and Brown and Williamson, a US subsidiary of British American Tobacco.
The firms, which deny any wrongdoing, have been indicted under legislation drawn up to counteract Mafia infiltration of business.
"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."
Posted 22 September 2004 - 09:05 PM
Imagine the next staement in the most sarcastic tone you could possibloy imagine:
Yeah, right...sure we beleive that....
Hopefully they can get a few of the many billions of dollars back that the government has had to pay out to take care of all of the uninsured or underinsured people who have come down with cancer, emphasyma, heart disease...whatever else the stuff causes...
Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.
People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.
All it takes for evil to triumph, is for good people to do nothing.
Posted 23 September 2004 - 09:39 AM
Money , money , money, we live in a money and powr obsessed world, its sad really, these companies have profited of prosucts that have caused so much illness and sorrow! Although nowadays, the risks and potential heath problems are out in the open for everyone to know, there is no excuse now, its there own faults if the start smoking now and become ill!