A New Twist on Cigarette Lawsuits

CT scanA Massachusetts judge has given the go-ahead to a new kind of tobacco class-action lawsuit being brought against Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes. The suit is brought on behalf of Massachusetts smokers 50 years or older who have smoked at least one pack of Marlboro cigarettes a day for at least 20 years, and is asking Philip Morris to pay for routine, annual computerized tomography (CT) scans of their chests, to try and detect early-stage lung cancer. The scans typically cost between $400 and $500 a year, but many health insurance plans don't cover them. The case differs from past tobacco lawsuits because the plaintiffs (smokers) have no apparent symptoms of lung cancer, and are not seeking typical damages. Instead, the smokers are asking the company to pick up the cost of regular medical screenings to detect the early formation of lung cancer, which is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. About 87 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The smokers claim that this type of monitoring can increase their likelihood of surviving cancer almost six fold. People with existing lung cancer, or those already under a doctor's care for suspected cancer, are not eligible to join the lawsuit. The case throws a new legal strategy at the tobacco industry, which typically has faced personal injury cases by individuals with existing lung cancer or other tobacco-related diseases. If the medical monitoring case is decided in favor of the plaintiffs, it could spawn dozens of similar suits across the country, according to Richard Daynard, a law professor at Northeastern University's Tobacco Products Liability Project.


It's unfortunate that so many Americans feel the need to blame Corporate America every time we, as American's, make poor choices. What ever happened to being held accountable for our own actions and decisions?

While your at it you should start blaming the Government as well! Without the cigarette companies the Federal Government, as well as the Local Government would be up the creek without all the tax revenue from the cigarette sales!!

As a former smoker, the only person I ever held responsible for my smoking was myself.

"What ever happened to being held accountable for our own actions and decisions?"

It got co-opted and it's doing PR for Big Tobacco, that's what happened to it.

Feeling accountability and being mindful of future consequences are traits of emotionally mature individuals. That's why the tobacco companies direct most of their marketing efforts at hooking kids who, if they're still too young to buy tobacco legally, want to be cool and can't wait to start smoking when they're "old enough." And many is the older person who got hooked young, finally grew up enough to realize the harm, then spent the rest of his/her life trying unsuccessfully to quit. If you succeeded you should probably thank your luck more than your willpower.

So the individual bears all the responsibility, and the tobacco companies bear none after relentlessly pushing addictive poison to millions, generation after generation -- these "corporate persons" that want all the legal recognitions of "personhood" but none of the responsibilities and liabilities of a natural person for the huge social harm they do? All they care about is hooking the next generation of kids so they'll keep coughing up their money as long as they can keep on coughing up sputum.

Choosing to smoke is a choice, quitting if you can is a choice. Helping enable Big Tobacco in its choice to keep hooking each new generation is a choice, too.