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N .Y .










TED KOPPEL : The issue goes before a California court this week .

MAN : What we want to accomplish is for a jury to determi'ne once and for all that cigarettes do cause illness,

KOPPEL : Good evening .

I'm Ted Koppel,

and this is Niqhtline• Can a tobacco company be held liable for your addiction to cigarettes and the consequences of that addiction

? Dozens of lawsuits and billions of dollars are riding on the answer to those questions .

We'11 focus on the controversy tonight,

as we talk with a lawyer for the R .J .

Reynolds Tobacco Company and with attorney Melvin Belli,

a veteran legal opponent of the tobacco industry .

ANNOUNCER : This is ABC News Nightline .

Reporting from Washington,,

Ted Koppel .

TED KOPPEL : These days they are rotating the warnings on cigarette packages,

that cigarette smoking contains carbon monoxide .

That gets interspersed with what is now the Surgeon-General's standard warning that cigarette-smoking is harmful--none of that old 'maybe' nonsense--is harmful to your health .

What the warnings do not say,

is that cigarette smoking is addictive,

the warnings themselves may be all but meaningless to millions of people who might love to quit,

but simply find that they can't .


• CHICAGO • AND OTHER PRINCIPAL CITIES While Radw TV Reports Inc endeavors to assure the accuracy of matenat supplieo by It,

it cannot be responsible for mtstakes or omissions Material supplied by Radio TV Reports,

may be used for file and reference purposes only,

It may not be reproduced,

sold or pubticly demonstnted or exhfb{t .d.

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

As Rebecca Chase reports,

the question of addiction may be the legal hook by which opponents of cigarette smoking d,o irreparable damage to the health of the tobacco industry .

REBECCA CHASE : John Galbraith was a heavy smoker,

three to four packs a day for fifty years .

Even after he developed heart problems and lung cancer,

eevn after he needed an oxygen tank twenty-four hours a day,

When he had every reason to try and quit,

He just,

his whole being cried out for cigarettes .

He was so addicted .

CHASE : John Galbraith died in 1982 a few days before his 70th birthday .

His family is suing .

WOMAN : I feel very firmly that cigarette companies are murderers .

That's my feeling .

I feel that they know they kill people,

and that they choose to qo ahead and manufacture something that actually kills .

To me,

that's akin to being a murderer .

CHASE : The plaintiffs in this Santa Barbara trial will argue that R .J .

Reynolds Tobacco Company made a product which r,aused the death of John Galbraith .

They're asking for one million dollars in damages .

What the jury will hear from each side will be a continuation of a debate,

which started more than twenty years ago .

Even as the Marlboro Man galloped across the TV screen,

and doctors appeared in cigarette

scienti`stsrecoqnized the link between smoking and health hazards .

But it wasn't until after the 1964 Surgeon-General's report that warnings were put on every package .

As the scientific evidence mounted,

the warning was strengthened from 'may be' hazardous to 'is' dangerous,

and now says unequivocally : Smoking causes lung cancer,

and may complicate pregnancy .

MAN : The position of R .J .

Reynolds is that that question is still an open question,

that it has not yet been scientifically determined that smoking does cause these diseases,

and that people should make their own mind up about that .

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

CHASE : Still,

the very warnings with which the cigarette companies disagree have provided them a kind of legal immunity .

Earlier lawsuits were unsuccessful,

as the courts held that smoking is a voluntary act,

and that the victims had been warned of the health hazards .

But public attitudes toward smoking have changed since that time .

So has product liability law .

Victims need only prove a product is defective,

not that the manufacturer was negligent .

And as more companies are being sued,

the cigarette industry is no lonqer considered off-limits .

It's an unprecedented legal assault .

As many as forty lawsuits have been filed all across the country from California to Tennessee .

Lawyer J .D .

Lee argues the warnings about cigarette smoking have been inadequate .

J .D .

LEE : You talk to any of my clients that have lost their legs,

and it never occurred to them that they would lose their legs from smoking .

CHASE : Perry Hall also had his jaw and tongue removed because of cancer .

He had smoked for more than fifty years .

PERRY HALL : I never heard of of any serious .

CHASE : You never heard of any of the serious dangers

Nothing .

CHASE : You never thought you could lose your leg`s

(UNCLEAR) CHASE : You never thought you'd eventually lose your tongue

I had no idea (UNCLEAR) CHASE : The newest and most controversial legal argument being used in these lawsuits is that smoking is addictive .

WOMAN : He knew that cigarettes had caused his illness and his lung cancer,

and that it was causing his dying at an early age .

To him,

because he expected grandchildren,

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

he felt really terrible about it .

I was so addicted,

I just couldn't have given it up .

I couldn't .

CHASE : Mrs .

Gaibraith is represented by Paul Manzione,


.prove that nicotine is a psychoactive drug .

It's like heroin .

It's like cocaine or alcohol,

I think if we have smokers on the jury,

convincing them tha smoking isn't a voluntary act .

MAN : It's really a self-fulfilling prophecy that's been promoted,

It must be addictive,

because people who say they want to quit don't really quit .


I guess,

I'm addictive to eating too many calories a day .

CHASE : The Galbraith case is being watched closely,

not only because it's the first,

but because the potential for more suits is tremendous .

The government estimates three-hundred fifty thousand Americans die each year from smoking-related illness .

MAN : That's the greatest chailenge to lawyers,

is to put the tobacco companies in the same category as the manufacturer of automobiles,

who would manufacture a defective product .

CHASE : The stock prices of some tobacco companie have already fallen eight to ten points,

due to the uncertainty created by the upcoming trials .


the industry oints out that to date,

it has not paid a cent in damages,

and doesn't expect to in the future .

MAN : If we can't draw the line there,

then what's to prevent people from suing egg manufacturers,

and red meat producers because of claimed health risks associated with that

? And the list is really endless .

CHASE : Even if the medical issues are not resolved in this California court,

the jury will be asked to answer an important legal question- : Is the smoker or the cigarette manufacturer responsible for the consequences of smoking

? This is Rebecca Chase for Nightline in Santa Barbara .

KOPPEL : When we come back,

we'll talk live with two lawyers,

representing the opposing sides in this case,

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117


Reynolds Tobacco Company

Melvin Belli,

representing the family of the late John Galbraith .

ANNOUNCER : According to government statistics,

an estimated thirty-five billion dollars will be spent in the IJ .S .

this year to treat tobacco-related diseases .

That will result in productivity losses to the economy of some sixty-one billion dollars .

Health offic•ials say that smoking will cause the premature death this year of more than three hundred thousand Americans .

This is ABC News Nightline .

KOPPEL : Joining us live from our Los Angeles bureau,

John Strow,

legal counsel in charge of product liability suits for .the R .J .

Reynolds Tobacco company .

And in our San Francisco bureau,

Melvin Belli,

Belli is representing the family of John Galbraith in its suit against the Reynolds Company,

for allegedly causing his addiction to tobacco .


let's get back for a moment to those warnings on the sides of cigarette packs .

If you don't believe what they say,

why do you put them on the packs

the federal government has examined this question very very closely,

and has made a societal decision to permit the sale of cigarettes,

by placing a warning on every package of the product,

and by requiring that warnings be placed on advertising as well .

KOPPEL : Yes .

But if (OVERLAPPING VOICES) but if you take the position,

that those warnings are inaccurate,

We've tried to act responsibly .

We fought our fought (SIC) in the Congress .

We took our position .

The Congress made the decision it did .

And we're obliged to abide by the law and do .

KOPPEL : Let me,

ask you the question : Do you concede that cigarette smoking is addictive

? STROW : That is a misconception that I think is best belied by pointing to the Surgeon-General's 1964 report,

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

Surqeon-General himself examined that issue,

and said very clearly that smoking was not addictive,

Thirty-five million people have quit in the last fifteen years,

as the Surgeon-General has pointed out,

And the Surgeon-General also pointed out quite correctly that the cigarette-smoking simply doesn't meet the classic test for addiction--

KOPPEL : Which is

There isn't any withdrawal symptoms of a traumatic and disastrous nature

and there isn't any interference with normal,

social and work activity as a result of using the product .

KOPPEL : All right .

Let's--let's-STROW : It's a classic definition .

KOPPEL : Let's jump over there to San Francisco and talk to Mr .

Belli about that .

I assume,


that you don't share that view of the addictive,

or non-addictive qualities of tobacco .


Neither does my government .

Neither do my doctors .

Professor Reese at the University,

California will testify that cigarettes,

and the argument that some people have stopped wouldn't satisfy me,

if my child came home with puncture marks in his arms,

Why doesn't your child

because he was addicted : God,

I hope that people in my family don't get addicted to cigarettes .

KOPPEL : Yeah,

but let's be a little more precise,

Belli .

Why don't you-BELLI : I can't be any more precise than that .

KOPPEL : Well,

You can respond a little more specifically to what it is Mr .

Strow is saying .

He draws a distinction between habit-forming and addictive .

at least in the government's view,

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

BELLI : There is,

Your habituated,

If you can' .t stop,

And there's chemical constituents in cigarettes and in tobacco that make it impossible for you to stop .

And don't tell me that there's no withdrawal symptoms,

because I've seen people going around who have tried to stop,

and have had withdrawal symptoms .

My friend,

who speaks for the tobacco industry,

with all of the money behind him,

STROW : Look,

the concept of equating withdrawal symptoms from tobacco,

which not all people experience,

with withdrawal symptoms from heroin,

I think is absurd

and I think it captures the way in which the addiction claim here isn't so much based upon an honest observation of the phenomenon .

It's based upon a need to deal with the critical problem,

which those asserting liability in these cases have--and that is the problem of personal responsibility,

personal accountability for their own decisions,

and the way they have chosen to live their lives .

KOPPEL : All right .

It seems to me,

and I think it's about time for us to take a break here

I want to raise the issue,

so you can both be thinking about it,

it seems to me that what's happening here is that for a long time,

a lot of opponents of cigarette smoking and the tobacco industry have been trying to nail both,

you have found a new way of doing it .

Let's talk about that when we come back .

We will continue our discussion in a moment .

KOPPEL : Back once again with John Strow and Melvin Belli .


but you and folks like you Mr ahve been trying to nail the tobacco industry for years

and the tobacco industry has always had up until now a rather excellent point

no one's holding a gun to your head

What makes you think you're going to be able to make it stick

BELLI : We're not looking for new angles .

We're looking for-KOPPEL : Sure,

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117


and we've found scientific fact,

because now we know that there is such a thing as addiction .

We're going to call one of the top men in the country on addiction,

and he's been working on it exclusively,

The nicotine and the other chemical constituents in tobacco will addict you .

I'm willing to take smokers on my jury,

because they know that they've tried to stop,

and I think that that's a test of addiction .

KOPPEL : Yes .

But I mean,

some people have tried to lose weight,

BELLI : Well,

I think it's ridiculous to say that you were able to stop,

a number of people were able to stop .

You tell- a heroin addict : Other people have stopped .

Why didn't you stop

? You can't convince him that he's habituated .

He is addicted,

as people who smoke are addicted .

A lot of 'em are not addicted but many of 'em aren't .



but you have a robust physique .

I would be willing to bet that over the years you have qained and lost many pounds over and over again .

Does that mean you're addicted


KOPPEL : Does that mean you're addicted to over-eating

I think it's a question of degree .

I'm not addicted to alcohol,

I'm not° addicted to Elsie,

the Borden Cow's product of too rich cream .

Those things I can stop .

There's a lot of things in life that are a question of degree,

I think that you're on to something like heroin,

And my jurors who smoke know that they've tried to stop on their birthday,

they've tried to stop at New Year's,

They couldn't .

Some of 'em maybe could .

Other ones weren't as a strong constitutionality,



the court's gonna decide whether or not cigarettes are or are not addictive--

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

BELLI : No .


A jury is going to decide that .

But if they do,

you folks are in real trouble,

this could really destroy the tobacco industry .

STROW : Well,

I still haven't heard any answer to the fact that the Surgeon-General himself,

examined this question in the famous 1964 report,

and one problem with the kind of redefinition or angle,

and some anti-smoking people have pointed it out

it tends to encourage people not to quit .

It tends to foster the idea that one is,

doesn't have to take responsibility for one's conduct in this regard .


I don't know about that,

Strow .

I mean,

any more than a drug addict-STROW : .


under the classic test of addiction,

which the Surgeon-General himself used to examine the addiction question,

really belies the idea that tobacco is addictive .

It is an angle designed to deal with the personal responsibility,

personal accountability problem,

which this litigation quite properly involves at its core .

B E L'L I : Why should you worry about stopping smoking,

? STROW : Our position on that has been quite clear,

and that is that causation has not been scientifically established .

And if we Want to qet into that,

But people .

BELLI : I'll ride with my government on that .


if there's a claim one way or the other .


why don't you ride with your government on the addiction issue,

Melvin .

.do something about the fact that the '64 report .


.you're not quoting truth on that .

The Surgeon-General at no time said that cigarettes are not addictive .

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

STROW : That's simply not the case,

and anyone who wants to check the '64 Surgeon-General's report and read it,

BELLI : You come to Santa Barbara .



I must tell you,

I can see the ambiguity in the addiction argument

and I don't want to get too far afield,

because that's really what we wanted to focus on tonight .

But do you feel entirely comfortable sitting there and saying that cigarettes do not cause emphysema,

STROW : Once again

I'll go to the Surgeon-General's 19 .


I don't care about the Surgeon-General's .

.(OVERLAPPING VOICES) BELLI : You won't get an answer from him .

The answer is yes .

KOPPEL : I certainly won't,

Let me try,

Strow .

You feel entirely comfortable,

STROW : I do .

If the issue is scientific causation .

KOPPEL : I'm asking you (OVERLAPPING VOICES) I'm asking you,


Do you believe,

you believe that cigarettes do not cause cancer

STROW : I believe .

KOPPEL : You believe that cigarettes do not cause emphysema

? STROW : I believe it has not been scientifically established that that is the case

as the Surgeon-General said in '64,

causation is the crucial issue here .

KOPPEL : What about,

let's get back to the subject of addiction for a moment .

What about psychological addiction

and what I hear on the subject is it usually takes about three or four days for the physical addiction to nicotine and whatever other chemicals there are in cigarettes to be--I mean,

for you to be more or less over the hump .

But whag about psychological addiction

? You surely don't question that there is that

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

STROW : Well,

if you go to the classic test .of addiction,

it requires a physical dependence .

What's happened here in an effort to avoid this personal responsibility problem is that a bigger and bigger net has been woven to throw the net of addiction over smoking .

If you get too broad and vague,

you pick up tea and coffee and,

KOPPEL : All right .


and then we're gonna have to wrap it up .

BELLI : I'11 ride with my government .

If there wasn't something wrong and harmful with cigarettes,

you think the government would have come out and forced these people to put on their packages that these things cause cancer,

? KOPPEL : Why doesn't it say 'addictive' on those packages

? BELLI : I don't think they have to say that .

That's when you go to court and have a lawyer for the cigarette company say that there's an assumption of risk,

You don't assume the risk of that which you don't know,

and then they come out with all of these ads that are in the various magazines,

that you have to smoke in order to be healthy .

I think that--what's that

? KOPPEL : You're hearing other voices,

Belli .

I'm not the one talking to you .

But we have people who do .

And I guess what they're trying to tell both of us is that we're kind out of time .

But I th ank you,

Belli and very much ror joi'ning us .

Strow .


Yeah .

Come to Santa Barbara and hear the Thank you very much .

All right .

Enjoyed it .

we'll go live to Professor Arthur Miller of the Harvard Law Sch ool,

who sa ys th at if current KOPPEL :

When we come back,

against tobacco comp anies succ eed,

potential of spreading to other indu stries as w ell .

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

O N ~ ~

KOPPEL : The basis of the suit against R .J .

Reynolds is an area known as product liability law .

And joining us live now .in our Boston bureau is an expert in that field,

Harvard Law School Professor Arthur Miller .

If they get 'em on this one,


it would be real trouble for the tobacco industry,

The floodgates would be open,

Ted .

Up to now,

the tobacco industry hasn't had to pay a dime .

There were a rash of tobacco cancer cases a decade ago,

and the plaintiffs lost them all .

KOPPEL : Because

? MILLER : Because I don't think jurors were ready to belieev how dangerous cigarettes might be .

KOPPEL : Dangerous,

or the fact that this was still a matter of choice

if you insist on going out and buying a gun and putting it to your hand,

that's not the gun manufacturers .

MILLER : I think it's a combination .

I think,

the scientific proof wasn't as strong .

I think,

the product liability law hadn't been as developed and as refined

Strow makes,

we are a nation of rugged individualists .

If you want to smoke,

You shouldn't have done it .

You could have gotten yourself out of it .

That's what lawyers occasionally call assumption of the risk .

I think at this point in our history,

jurors may be feeling more kindly toward cigarette smokers than they were ten years ago .

KOPPEL : Just give us a sense,


before we have to say goodnight,

what the overall ramifications would be,

because I know you can see this spreading way beyond the tobacco


Belli's point of view .

MILLER : First of all,

the tobacco cases would dwarf the asbestos cases .


Then we'd probably have fatty food cases .

We might even have diet pop cases .

Once you start down that slippery slope of saying that

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117

even voluntary conduct can lead to product liability law,

something that there's no precedent in existing law,

we've got a real problem of drawing lines .

KOPPEL : All right .

Arthur Miller,

We will all be watching in fact with great interest that case in Santa Barbara .

That is our report for tonight .

I'm Ted Koppel in Washington .

For all of us here at ABC News,

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lzyx0117