Cigarettes Sold To Kids
On Tuesday Dec. 14th a jury ruled the Lorillard Tobacco Co. enticed black children to become smokers by handing out free cigarettes. They awarded $71 million in compensatory damages to the estate and son of Marie Evans, who recently died of lung cancer.
I read this headline and had that “Damn is this real?” moment, immediately followed by my own answer, “Of course it’s real!”
When I was younger, I thought one of the coolest things a man could do was light up a cigarette and strut down the street with sunglasses on. I loved it so much that I started carrying a toothpick in my mouth at an early age to mimic that of a cigarette. I still do that this day.
Drive through any of the hoods in our most vulnerable of communities in America and you will see some of the most outrageous alcohol and cigarette ads. The fact that I knew what a Newport was before I knew how to do basic mathematical equations proves my point.
The lawsuit is believed to be the first in the country to accuse a cigarette-maker of targeting black children by giving away cigarettes in urban neighborhoods, said Edward A. Sweda, senior attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Boston's Northeastern University School of Law. He said the jury's decision is "quite significant and groundbreaking for a plaintiff in a tobacco case."
Sweda predicted it could lead to similar lawsuits around the country by people who also recall getting free cigarettes as children. Marie Evans' lawyers said she received her first free cigarettes at age 9 and initially gave them to her older sisters or traded them for candy. They said she began smoking at age 13.
Let us never forget that big business' number one priority is its bottom line - a steady and profitable bottom line. That means they will give kids free cigarettes, kick people out their homes, and knowingly sell some of the most poisonous products on grocery store shelves. But don’t be scared just do something. People can take on the mightiest of corporations. And sometimes, they can even win.
Read the Article here
Nov 14, 2012
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