Tobacco Company to Pay Damages for Giving Away Free Cigarettes to Kids
A tobacco company based in Greensboro, North Carolina, was ordered to pay $81 million in punitive damages, in addition to $71 million in compensatory damages, to the family of a woman from Boston who died of lung cancer in 2002.
A report on CNN shared that Lorillard Tobacco Company allegedly encouraged kids to smoke by giving away free samples of cigarettes to kids in the late 50s and early 60s, in the Orchard Park neighborhood in Boston.
Marie Evans suffered from small cell lung cancer and died at the age of 54, a mere three weeks after sitting through three days’ worth of videotaped deposition, which was eventually heard by the jury. In her deposition, Marie described how she started smoking as a child after receiving free cigarette samples distributed by Lorillard in the housing project where she lived.
Lorillard, however, said that the charges against them were “unfounded.” A company statement described Lorillard as the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States.
Lorillard’s lawyer acknowledged that a few decades ago, they gave away free cigarette samples to adults, in order to encourage them to switch brands.
Gregg Perry, spokesman for Lorillard, shared: “Lorillard respectfully disagrees with the jury’s verdict and denies the plaintiff’s claim that the company sampled to children or adults at Orchard Park in the early 1960s.”
Willie Evans, Marie’s son, gave the following statement after the verdict was read: “Hopefully this does allow other people to come forward, and gives them confidence to move their cases forward.”Tags: free cigarettes, free tobacco, lung cancer, tobacco cancer