A Florida jury awarded $42.5 million for a Florida man who blamed tobacco behemoths R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. for the death of his wife. Irene Gloger was 47 when she died of lung cancer. But she was just 14 when she picked up her first cigarette in 1963, which Ratzan argued was exactly what Big Tobacco wanted.
“She was right inside their target age range at the time they were advertising their products on ‘The Flintstones’ and ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ and showing pictures of young, glamorous women and men and young movie stars and young athletes,” attorney Stuart Ratzan said.
Though e-cigarettes didn’t exist in Gloger’s era, they featured heavily in the damages portion of the trial, when the defendants had the chance to argue their companies had changed since the days of manipulating the addictive properties of their products, concealing health risks and targeting children.
Ratzan and his team claimed that instead of marketing the electronic version as a way for cigarette smokers to quit nicotine altogether, the defendants had been promoting such flavors as mixed berry, and cream and mint, and using images aimed at youngsters.