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Tobacco trials' timeline

May 1994 -- Mississippi becomes the first state to file suit against the tobacco companies to recoup Medicaid costs.

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November 21, 1995 -- Tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand sued by former employer Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. for breach of contract after an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes."

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March 15, 1996 -- Cigarette manufacturer Liggett Group settles with five states, agrees to repay more than $10 million in Medicaid bills for treatment of smoking-related illnesses.

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March 18, 1996 -- A former Philip Morris scientist tells federal regulators that the company controlled nicotine levels in cigarettes to assure continued sales.

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April 18, 1996 -- First non-prescription nicotine gum hits market.

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June 3, 1996 -- Eclipse, the first smokeless cigarette, goes on sale.

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July 19, 1996 -- Connecticut becomes 10th state to file suit against tobacco companies for Medicaid compensation in tobacco-related illness treatment.

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August 1996 -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposes new regulations that restrict tobacco advertising targeting teen-agers and make it harder for minors to purchase tobacco.

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August 21, 1996 -- U.S. President Bill Clinton approves FDA regulations.

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August 23, 1996 -- Clinton declares nicotine addictive.

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October 1, 1996 -- Utah becomes 16th state to join tobacco lawsuit.

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October 1996 -- Tobacco companies file a motion in a North Carolina court asking for a summary judgment to throw out the FDA rules

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October 1996 -- Pentagon announces plans to end tobacco subsidy at U.S. military commissaries.

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November 5, 1996 -- Florida files criminal charges against tobacco industry.

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December 1996 -- Justice Department files 149-page brief outlining FDA's case for regulating tobacco.

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December 1996 -- Florida allows racketeering charge for tobacco companies.

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February 1997 -- Oral arguments presented in court for both sides of the case.

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March 20, 1997 -- Liggett Group settles lawsuits with another 22 states, agrees to pay $750 million and becomes first tobacco company to admit that cigarettes are addictive and can cause cancer.

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March 26, 1997 -- Federal Trade Commission asked to probe whether R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s "Joe Camel" ads target children.

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April 20, 1997 -- Negotiators for tobacco companies and anti-smoking forces start meetings to settle tobacco claims. Reports say tobacco industry could pay up to $300 billion over 25 years into a compensation fund for smokers, seeks immunity from future lawsuits in return.

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April 25, 1997 - North Carolina judge says FDA can regulate access to cigarettes not advertising or promotion of tobacco.

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