Acting U.S. Surgeon General, Boris Luchniak, recently asserted that filtered, or “light” cigarettes, may actually increase the risk of a certain lung cancer. As a result, legal experts predict litigation surrounding cigarettes and lung cancer will expand exponentially. Our team of lung cancer attorneys digs deeper into the issue and what it means for potential plaintiffs.
In his report, the Surgeon General concluded that smokers have a much higher risk of lung cancers and other diseases than they did 50 years ago, and this is in part due to the ventilated filters used in “light” cigarettes. Luchniak also asserted that smoking causes liver and colon cancer, diabetes, and is causally linked to impaired immune system, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, macular degeneration, and erectile dysfunction.
The risk is so much higher today than 50 years ago because of the changes tobacco companies have made to cigarette’s design and composition. As mentioned above, there is suggestive evidence that ventilated filters and increased carcinogens are to blame for the heightened health risks.
Plaintiffs in Florida are suing tobacco companies over their assertion that so-called light cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. In fact, these new finding suggest that filtered cigarettes are actually more dangerous than regular, and medical and scientific experts could testify at trial to this point. The new data may even be powerful enough to prompt more plaintiffs to file suit in Florida courts, where cigarette litigation is currently ongoing.
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In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that individual plaintiffs fighting tobacco companies could apply previous jury’s findings over the liability of Big Tobacco to their own cases. Since that ruling, most plaintiffs have decided to move their lawsuits to Florida courts, where they enjoy a significant advantage. That 2006 decision encompassed about 700,000 members of a class action suit against Big Tobacco.
Many additional plaintiffs who have been smoking filtered cigarettes may want to consider filing suit in Florida in light of this new medical data. The Surgeon General’s conclusions suggests that tobacco companies not only sold cigarettes it knew were incredibly dangerous, but attempted to trick consumers into believing the product was safer than traditional cigarettes.
Legal experts believe the new findings will make a considerable difference to jury members, inspiring even more anger toward Big Tobacco. In addition to this boost for already-existing plaintiffs, the new data could also cause consumers who were diagnosed with diabetes, colon or liver cancer to file lawsuits. Previous data was suggestive but insufficient to prove a direct link between cigarette smoking and these conditions. Now that the research is proven, plaintiffs are much more likely to win cases.
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Reinforcing this possibility, recently a court in Miami found Philip Morris USA responsible for causing a plaintiff’s coronary heart disease. The jury awarded the 69-year-old man $5 million, and concluded the tobacco company was at least 60% liable for the disease. Other individual suits have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs.
Our lung cancer attorneys are anxious to see how this new federal data will affect suits against Big Tobacco, and we will continue to report on cases as updates arise. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with lung, colon, or liver cancer as a result of years of smoking filtered cigarettes, contact our firm immediately. Our case reviews are available to potential clients nationwide and are always free of charge.