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Big tobacco escapes 113bn payout

Big tobacco escapes 113bn payout
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Florida’s Supreme Court has saved the tobacco industry from paying 113 billion euros in damages to smokers. The US state’s highest legal body refused to reinstate a ruling made in 2000 that found cigarette firms had deceived smokers about the dangers of tobacco.

An appeals court overturned that decision three years ago, and the Supreme Court agreed with the argument that the amount of damages to be paid was “excessive” and would cripple the tobacco companies involved. The Court ruled that individuals would now have to file their own claims, rather than work collectively as they did in this case.

The ruling lifts a cloud over the likes of Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and Ligget, and leaves smokers’ rights groups fuming. The tobacco firms are not entirely in the clear however- judges backed key findings that smoking causes cancer and heart disease, and that companies sold defective products and concealed the truth about the dangers of using them.