Magazine article Multinational Monitor

Suing the Tobacco Lords

Magazine article Multinational Monitor

Suing the Tobacco Lords

Article excerpt

MISSISSIPPI'S LANDMARK DECISION to sue the tobacco industry for tax dollars spent on smoking-related illnesses has set off a war of words between the state attorney general and conservative Republican Governor Kirk Fordice.

The governor opposes the suit on principle and predicts the case itself will prove to be a costly and unnecessary use of state resources.

"I have nothing to do with the tobacco lawsuit. Philosophically, I want to throw up when I think of all the lawsuits going on in this country," he says. "I'm not an enthusiast of going out and suing people."

"I would think that our governor would be more sympathetic to those indigent Mississippians who are dying from lung cancer and heart disease," says Democratic Attorney General Mike Moore, who filed the suit.

But he says that his office does not need support from the governor's office to pursue the case, adding, "we won't let this criticisms slow our efforts."

Moore, backed by State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson, filed the groundbreaking lawsuit in May against 13 tobacco companies, seeking reimbursement for the estimated tens of millions of dollars it must spend each year to provide medical care to victims of tobacco-related illness.

"Tobacco kills too many of our people and causes too many others to be sick every year. We all pay," says Thompson.

"Since tobacco companies continue to push their addictive products [on] Mississippians, they should be willing to pay the costs of medical care; they need to pay for the heart disease, cancer and other lung diseases tobacco causes," Thompson says. …

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