Problem

Unclear liability

Incidence:
Taking legal action against organisations as powerful as tobacco companies is a big step no-one should take lightly. 52 British lung cancer victims have recently had to abandon their case after a hostile judge and endless legal hurdles were placed in their way. Even though some 6 million people will have died as a result of smoking in the UK since the war, it appears that the legal system is not yet ready to ask if the tobacco companies bear any responsibility for this terrible toll. The situation in the United States is very different where the systematic deception and wrong-doing of tobacco companies has been exposed and the courts have become much more hostile to the tobacco industry.
Counter Claim:
This claim ignores the long-term savings traceable to smoking and the tobacco taxes smokers already pay to cover the costs they supposedly impose on others. And by the same logic, states could sue the manufacturer of any product associated with disease or injury, including alcoholic beverages, fatty foods, candy, firearms, swimming pols, bathtubs, skateboards, and automobiles. The makers (and consumers) of such products should not be blamed because politicians decided to pay for health care with taxpayers' money.
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Subject(s):
Date of last update
11.03.1999 – 00:00 CET