Supreme Court Won’t Get Involved In Florida Tobacco Cases

Today I had some faith returned that even with the multi-millions of dollars that are spent by corporations to influence our government and courts, has failed on this issue and the health interest of the working middle class was represented.

The Supreme Court is refusing to overturn a $28.3 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in the first of about 8,000 lawsuits that have been filed against cigarette companies in Florida.

The high court on Monday refused to hear appeals of a Pensacola, Fla., jury’s award to the family of Benny Martin, who died of lung cancer in 1995.

R. J. Reynolds lawyers argued that the case should be overturned because Florida judges aren’t making plaintiffs prove cigarette makers knowingly sold dangerous and defective products.

(I thought this fact was settled by Jeffrey Wigand, a biochemist, who was subpoenaed by the Grand Jury to divulge the dirty little secret that insider information knew for years: cigarettes kill people.  Every year, 425,000 Americans die of smoking-related illnesses.  Wigand had evidence that the tobacco industry knew that tobacco was addictive, in spite of the fact that the tobacco industries representatives stated otherwise (“LIED”) in front of Congress, and that they added carcinogenic substances to enhance the impact, considering cigarettes a “nicotine delivery device.”)

The current burden “Evidence of Proof” is that people suing cigarette companies only have to prove addiction, and that their illnesses, or deaths of family members, were caused by cigarettes.

The cigarette company says that standard violates due process but the Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear their argument.

Now let me take this time to pass onto those Conservative Republicans rheortic fighting for Less Regulations / Business Friendly but wanting to destroy Medicare and Medicaid and the National Health Care at the same time;  allow me to pass on some facts.  Not only does tobacco harm the health of the tobacco users, but the use of tobacco also costs EVERY SINGLE TAX PAYER in America.  The following information is provided to help you realize just what the true costs of tobacco really are.

National Healthcare Cost:

Nationally it costs $72.7 billion a year to treat smokers who suffer from smoking related diseases.

Smoking-related Medicaid costs amount to $12.9 billion per year.

Smokers are 29 percent more likely to have annual medical insurance claims over $5,000 than nonsmokers.

Smoking during pregnancy costs the country more than $3 billion a year.

Work Cost:

Premature retirements and deaths caused by smoking have cost the country at least $60 billion in lost wages per year.

Smokers with group life insurance push up premiums for nonsmokers in the same pool by $4 Billion a year.

Every smoker costs his or her company at least $1,000 a year because of decreased productivity and increased health care costs.

Smokers are more likely to be hurt at work than nonsmokers.

Fire Cost:

Cigarettes are the leading cause of fire fatalities in the United States.

Twenty-eight percent of all residential fire deaths were caused by smoking materials.

Smoking is the second-leading cause of injuries related to household fires, ranking second only to injuries caused by cooking-equipment fires.  In 1992, the loss in property from smoking-related fires totaled $318 million.

Family Cost:

A new study shows that parental smoking each year kills at least 6,200 children.

Smoking causes 5.4 million children serious ailments such as ear infection and asthma.

 

In at least the fifteen states where the issue has been raised, courts have held that it is appropriate to consider whether a parent smokes around a child in determining whether they should be awarded custody.  States which have rules that parental smoking around a child may be considered in custody proceedings include: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

People who smoke are more likely to be involved in car crashes for which they are responsible.

Military Cost:

The military spends $930 million per year on healthcare for smoking-related illnesses and lost productivity.

Conclusion:

The tobacco industry sells about six trillion cigarettes each year.  The tobacco industry generates profits over $600 billion per year.

Now that you know this fact, let me pass on that since 2000 to 2010 (Most enacted during those “Conservative Republican W. Bush / Cheney” controlled Congress, Senate and Presidency years) the U. S. tax payers subsidized the tobacco industry to the sum over $1.1 Billion Dollars.  If the Conservative Republicans really want to cut spending….CUT THIS OUT NOW!!  IT’S A NO BRAINER IF YOU REALLY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS.  The tax paying citizens would save this cost outright but more so in the medical cost in the future.

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One Response to “Supreme Court Won’t Get Involved In Florida Tobacco Cases”

  1. Northwest Ohio Native Says:

    MORE FACTS:
    Tobacco companies aren’t the only ones missing some ethics. In Ohio, the state used some of the money from the 1998 tobacco settlement (46 states and four largest tobacco companies) to build new schools in districts that voted down levies for such. In Toledo, the school board was able to pass a levy to pay 25% of the cost for new buildings with the state picking up the remaining 75% using tobacco settlement money. The district replaced EVERY SINGLE BUILDING (52) with a new building. And last year they changed the structure of the district making many of the new buildings unneeded. That and the fact Toledo is shrinking, so the number of school age children is shrinking also (need less buildings and have less income to operate too many unneeded buildings). The money is not going to where it was promised to go and Ohio is not the only state screwing this up:
    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what_we_do/state_local/tobacco_settlement/

    After I retired, I started to produce a video/gong show kind of karaoke. (Hey, I packed the place once a week. Many professional singers actually came in because it was so much fun.) Sitting up in the D.J. booth for 8 hours, I inhaled a lot of second hand smoke. When I developed breathing difficulties, I went to a pulmonologist. The X-rays showed I had developed something along my “rib-lines” that was indicative of secondhand smoke. When the smoking ban went into effect in Ohio, I heard a lot of talk about the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke being just a myth (like global climate change). I wrote an letter to the editor telling of my own second hand smoke experience and they printed not only my name, but my address also. You’d have thought I shot someone’s grandmother. Those smokers get vicious* when they think you’re coming for their cigarettes.

    * TRUE STORY: The “lady” next door, a chain smoker who eventually died of emphysema, actually tried to have me arrested!

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