Suit Has No Basis in Fact vs. An Unavoidable Path to Cutting Teen Smoking

USA Today
Thursday, 9/23/99
from Greg Little: Suit has no basis in fact and EDITORIAL: An unavoidable path to cutting teen smoking
[continued from Index page back]

[Provided by Tobacco Daily News Summaries]

POINT: An editorial in the USA TODAY says the federal lawsuit is a necessary course of action for the federal government, given that Congress failed to pass tobacco legislation last year.

The editorial says that Congress should handle the tobacco issue since it "could accomplish more for taxpayers and public health than years of litigation could ever hope to achieve." The paper says Congress should raise the tobacco tax by $1, use the revenue for anti-smoking programs, and give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco.

"Unfortunately, none of these reforms is realistic in today's political climate. But winning any victory against the heavily armored tobacco industry seemed unthinkable just a couple of years ago -- until aggressive attorneys general decided to take up the charge, and the industry was forced to retreat.

In the same vein, the Justice Department's gamble might shift public opinion enough that Congress if forced to give up its own addiction to tobacco cash and improve public health. That would be breath of fresh air."

COUNTERPOINT: In an Opposing View, Greg Little, assistant general counsel for Philip Morris, said that the federal lawsuit is meritless and politically motivated.

"We do not believe that this kind of politically motivated lawsuit is in anyone's interest. We will mount a vigorous defense, we will not settle, and we expect to win. . . . The essence of this lawsuit is that the federal government was unaware of the health risks of smoking. Ask yourself whether that claim is credible in light of the fact that there have been 35 surgeon general's reports since 1964 warning the public of smoking risks, and, since 1966, every pack of cigarettes sold carries a federally mandated health warning.

Now, for the federal government to say it has been misled by anything the industry did has no credibility. For decades, the government has been involved in virtually every aspect of the tobacco industry and collected tens of billions of dollars in taxes on cigarette sales. This lawsuit is the product of politics: It has no basis in fact or law."

[Full Text: and

tobacco freedom logo
home | Attorneys General MSA index | CCAA | Issues | about US

For questions about this Website, contact CyberSmooth at InfoImagination © 1999