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Verdict Against Tobacco Firm

June 27, 1988

No one believes that the tobacco industry is performing a public service. Those of us over 50 remember "You'll stunt your growth," and "Puff, puff, puff until you smoke yourself to death." We knew that we weren't allowed to buy cigarettes until we were 18 because only adults were allowed to do things that were bad for them. If we heard that someone had died from lung cancer, throat cancer or emphysema, we were surprised if we also heard that that person didn't smoke.

Of course, we knew smoking was bad for us! And, yes, we could quit if we tried hard enough.

So, by what reasoning does a jury award a large settlement to the family of a woman who died from the effects of smoking? Shall we hold the auto maker responsible for the death of the speeder? Will Sara Lee be made to pay damages in the death of the glutton? Is no one to be held responsible for his own actions anymore? Stand by for lawsuits against God for making the original tobacco plant.

Does a cash settlement make up for the loss of a loved one? If so, what is the satisfactory price for a husband, a wife or a child?

These people would be better advised to spend their efforts on a lobby to end government subsidies to tobacco growers. It is beyond irony that the United States pays farmers to raise a crop that we all know kills people.

DIANE SILVER

Arleta

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