Jury Tells Big Tobacco to Pay for Stop Smoking Programs

Louisiana smokers will get help to quit smoking from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard, Philip Morris USA and Brown & Williamson, thanks to a jury ruling in a class-action lawsuit, the Associated Press reported May 21.

“For the first time ever in this country, a jury has awarded a comprehensive smoking cessation program, not dollar damages,” said Joseph Bruno, who represented smokers Gloria Scott and Deania Jackson in the lawsuit. “Instead, the jury approved what is needed to help those addicted to smoking.”

The ruling requires the tobacco industry to pay $590.9 million for nicotine patches, telephone hot lines, advertising, and other smoking-cessation programs.

In July, the same jury found tobacco makers guilty of deceptive advertising and trying to market cigarettes to children.

The ruling allows any Louisiana resident who started smoking before the mid-1990s to receive free smoking cessation help.

The tobacco industry said it would appeal the ruling.