Utah residents sue tobacco companies
February 16, 1998
Web posted at: 2:23 p.m. EST (1923 GMT)
SALT LAKE CITY (CNN) -- Four Utah residents have filed a
lawsuit accusing major cigarette manufacturers of selling a
defective product and conspiring to conceal the addictive
power of nicotine. The plaintiffs, who took up cigarettes as
teen-agers, smoked for decades and now suffer from
smoke-related illnesses, ask that their lawsuit receive class
The suit filed Friday contends tobacco companies elevated the
level of nicotine in cigarettes, which helped to create
addictions so strong that customers were left without a
choice but to keep smoking.
A proposed $368.5 billion tobacco settlement now under debate
in Congress would provide immunity from such lawsuits.
The Utah complaint contends the tobacco industry should
establish a medical monitoring fund for smokers, finance
smoking-cessation programs and give up at least five years of
gross revenues from cigarettes sales in Utah. It also
demands punitive damages.