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Friday, 14 July, 2000, 22:00 GMT 23:00 UK
Timeline: The tobacco war
The legal struggle over whether tobacco firms should pay damages has dragged on for decades. BBC News Online charts the key dates in the battle.

Tobacco wars
  • The US legal battle
  • Tobacco economics
  • Smoking goes global
  • Cigarette health file
  • Timeline: the tobacco war
  • 1954
    A lung cancer victim files the first liability lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The suit is dropped 13 years later.

    1964
    US Surgeon General Luther L Terry concludes smoking causes lung cancer.

    1965
    Tobacco firms begin to display warning labels on cigarette packs.

    1983
    Rose Cipollone, a smoker dying from lung cancer, files a landmark lawsuit, which drags on for nine years. She is finally awarded $400,000, but the decision is overturned. Her family cannot afford to appeal.

    1988
    The Surgeon General says that nicotine is an addictive drug.

    1992
    The US Supreme Court rules that warning labels on packs of cigarettes do not shield tobacco companies from lawsuits.

    1994
    Diana Castano, whose husband died of cancer, files a case against the tobacco industry. It grows to include millions of smokers and an alliance of 60 lawyers for the plaintiffs.

    1996
    A jury in the state of Florida awards $750,000 to Grady Carter, a sufferer from lung cancer who sued tobacco firm Brown & Williamson.

    1996
    The Liggett Group, smallest of the major tobacco manufacturers, settles claims with the attorneys general of five US states and promises assistance against other companies.

    1996
    A Federal appeals court strikes down the class action status of the Castano case. Lawyers for the plaintiffs refile class action suits in dozens of cases.

    1997
    Tobacco companies and state attorneys general announce a landmark $368.5bn settlement.

    1998
    US tobacco companies settle civil cases for $206bn.

    2000
    Punitive damages of nearly $145bn are awarded against five US tobacco companies after a class action in the state of Florida.

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