How tobacco litigation has made a difference to tobacco control

“Used properly, the law can help transform the paradigms of tobacco control, awaken public outrage, strengthen public policies and redress injuries.”

World Health Organization

  • 1954 – present: changed the public perception of smoking and the tobacco industry
  • 1954 – present: increased the price of cigarettes by nearly 30x
    The price of a pack of cigarettes averaged 21 cents in 1954. Today it is over $6.15 a pack today. The rate of quit attempts is related to the price of tobacco.
  • 1967 – 1970: Equal time for anti-Smoking ads on TV and radio
    JohnnySMokeA fairness doctrine suit, brought by Attorney John Bahnzaf, ruled that anti-smoking ads would have to follow broadcast tobacco ads. The ruling lead to the removal of tobacco ads from television and radio by the industry. This action moved the tobacco to increase print and non-broadcast media and product placement.
  • Helped lead to smokefree airlines and workspaces
  • 1998: Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)
    The MSA limited tobacco marketing and allocated ongoing payments to states to offset the costs of tobacco-related diseases.

    • Marlboro BIllboardEnded billboard advertising and print advertising in youth magazines
    • Partially reimbursed states for the costs of treating treating tobacco caused diseases.
    • Funded the national Truth Campaign of the American Legacy Foundation, which runs anti-smoking advertising campaigns as well as smoking cessation and policy programs.
    • Ended the Tobacco Institute and Council for Tobacco Research
    • Required cigarette companies to create public websites with their documents
      The companies’ expenses for the settlement were passed to smokers, who saw a package of cigarettes increase in price by 45 cents per pack.
  • 2003: Exposed the fraud of light/low tar cigarette marketing
  • 2004: Provided funding for smoking cessation to Louisiana smokers – see Scott v American Tobacco
  • 2006: Department of Justice case ruled the tobacco industry violated Racketeering laws
    • Will require corrective statements to be issued by manufacturers
      In the 2006 ruling in the Department of Justice racketeering lawsuit requires that the cigarette companies publish corrective statements that outline and describe the fraud that they perpetuated on the American public.