A Decade Since the Big Tobacco Settlement

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Nov 17, 2008 in Personal Injury News

This week marks the ten-year anniversary of the $246 billion settlement with tobacco companies.  A lawsuit that marked a cultural change in America.  

The idea started when the mother of a legal secretary died of heart disease caused by smoking.  The attorney for the family, unable to take the tobacco industry on by himself, turned to the Attorney General of Mississippi with the idea that since the state was paid for the womans medical care through the Medicaid program that the state could file a lawsuit and recover its losses. 

Up until this point, tobacco companies had won every smoker lawsuit ever filed against the industry, saying smokers knew what the dangers were.  However, much to Big Tobaccos dismay, the idea caught on.  More and more states attorneys general filed similar cases.  With the growing media attention, the tobacco industry looked to escape the financial threat the cases caused not to mention the PR nightmare.

Eventually, the tobacco companies agreed to a $246 billion settlement payable over 25 years.  They also agreed to change their marketing and business practices.  The iconic images of Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man were banished from all advertisements.

Where did all of the money go?  The money was divided amongst the states.  Many have used the money to balance budgets, build schools and pave roads.  SInce the settlement studies show that smoking rates are down across the board. 

Pitman, Kalkhoff & Sicula is a Wisconsin personal injury law firm handling cases through out the state.  Our personal injury lawyers have successfully represented injured people in almost every county. We know Wisconsin.

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