|January 5, 2018
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Tampa Bay Times: “That is a victory for the public health, and Bondi deserves credit for demanding that Florida gets the millions it is entitled to receive.”
Tampa Bay Times
Jan. 1, 2018
A circuit judge in Palm Beach County has appropriately upheld one of the key legacies of Florida’s landmark tobacco lawsuit. The ruling last month forces R.J. Reynolds to continue paying the state millions in settlement money even after selling off several tobacco brands. It’s the right outcome that ensures cigarette makers continue to be held accountable for harming public health.
The case dates to 1995, when under then-Gov. Lawton Chiles Florida sued the nation’s major tobacco companies for marketing and selling cigarettes to children and for lying about the health effects of smoking. Rather than go through a potentially disastrous trial, the companies agreed to pay more than $11 billion and undertake numerous public health initiatives. Those efforts included removing cigarette billboards, financing antismoking campaigns and removing cigarette vending machines from places where teenagers could get to them.
The settlement, as well as others around the country, brought an end to decades of deceptive sales and marketing that specifically targeted kids. Smoking rates among teens are on the decline due largely to the industry being forced to halt its nefarious practices. But smoking among young people remains a key public health concern. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 6 million Americans under 18 will eventually die from a smoking-related illness.
So Attorney General Pam Bondi did the right thing in January 2017 when she took the tobacco companies back to court.
To read the full editorial, click here.