Regulating Tobacco

By Robert L. Rabin; Stephen D. Sugarman | Go to book overview

7
The Third Wave of
Tobacco Tort Litigation
Robert L. Rabin

In a quiet way, tobacco tort litigation emerged as a challenge to the tobacco industry in the mid-1950s at the height of the popularity of smoking—long before a more pervasive regulatory attack on the industry was envisioned by even the most ardent of antitobacco activists. At the time, roughly half the adult population in the United States smoked. There were no limitations on advertising; indeed, tobacco was among the leading industry advertisers on television and radio and in the print media. Similarly, there were no limitations on where smoking might take place, no enforcement of bans on sales to minors, minimal excise taxes, and no public health reports on the risks of smoking. Against this backdrop the initial cancer scare based on scientific data triggered the first wave of lawsuits against tobacco manufacturers (Rabin 1993).

By now, the consequent total lack of success in the courthouse over the course of almost forty years, involving two waves of litigation, is a familiar story. 1 At the end of that period, tobacco observers on all sides awaited with great anticipation the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the 1992 case of Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc.,2 addressing the question of whether the 1965 cigarette labeling act preempted state tort claims based on negligent failure to warn. The preemption defense, along with assumption of risk, had been the hallmarks of industry success in fending off the second wave of tort claimants. Cipollone was the case, many thought, that would indicate whether a breakthrough would finally occur against Fortress Tobacco. And immediately after the Court concurred with the industry's preemption claim, it appeared that yet another wave of tort litigation might be a long time in coming.

-176-

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Regulating Tobacco
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents vii
  • About the Contributors ix
  • Regulating Tobacco *
  • 1 - Perspectives on Policy: Introduction 3
  • 2 - The Politics of Tobacco Regulation in the United States 11
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 3 - Taxing Tobacco: The Impact of Tobacco Taxes on Cigarette Smoking and Other Tobacco Use 39
  • References *
  • 4 - Marketing Policies 72
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 5 - Reducing Harm to Smokers: Methods, Their Effectiveness, and the Role of Policy 111
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 6 - Reducing the Supply of Tobacco to Youths 143
  • References *
  • 7 - The Third Wave of Tobacco Tort Litigation 176
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 8 - Clean Indoor Air Restrictions: Progress and Promise 207
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 9 - International Aspects of Tobacco Control and the Proposed Who Treaty 245
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Index 285
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