Smoker Carolyn Long used cigarettes for decades before quitting in 2002. However, by that point, the damage had already been done.
She was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the late ’90s.
After a lengthy battle, she died of the disease in 2020 at age 80.
Her husband John sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for directly causing her death.
His lawyers argued that his late wife had a hard time quitting smoking over the years due to nicotine rewiring her brain in “powerful ways” since she began smoking at a young age.
The legal team for the tobacco company argued that Carolyn Long used their products by choice.
However, the jury agreed that Carolyn Long was only 30% to blame, while R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company held 60% of the blame, and cigarette company, Philip Morris, were 10% at fault for Long’s death, though they were not present at the Florida trial.
The jury concluded that the cigarette company purposefully hooked the woman on cigarettes by advertising “light” cigarettes are just as potent as regular cigarettes.
Reacting after the ruling, the Long family attorney Shane Newlands said: “We’re grateful that the jury listened so carefully to all the evidence and then placed a very significant value on what was a very significant loss for that family.”
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company will pay $9.75 million total to the family of Carolyn Long.