For decades, companies put asbestos in products and claimed that these products were safe. Everything from household appliances to shipbuilding materials commonly contained asbestos. It was touted as a safe and cheap material, even after it was discovered that inhaling or ingesting asbestos could, in fact, cause cancer.
Millions of people have been exposed to asbestos either without knowing it or without knowing just how dangerous the fiber actually is. It is only decades after they have been exposed that victims of mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis that people learned how toxic the substance is. These days, it may be common for mesothelioma patients to be asked by doctors if they ever used or produced one product in particular that has been linked to numerous cases of asbestos-related illnesses.
The makers of Kent cigarettes, Lorillard and Hollingsworth & Vose, are among the many companies that routinely used asbestos in products for years without warning consumers of the dangers associated with inhaling asbestos. The tobacco company released a patented filter in 1952 that contained asbestos, and promised consumers that it was safe. Over the course of the next four years, billions of the cigarettes were smoked by people who were completely unaware that they were at risk of breathing in asbestos.
Now, more than 60 years later, the company is finally being held accountable for the dangerous product. Not only are former Kent smokers filing lawsuits against the company, but so are many workers in the plants and factories where the filters were produced. All of these people say they were exposed to asbestos without knowing the damage it would do to their health.
In recent years, Lorillard and H&V has been sued a number of times by people who developed mesothelioma and other lung cancers after being exposed to the purported “safe” filter components. Whether they were smoking the cigarette or making it, hundreds of people suffered the devastating effects of breathing in asbestos.
It may not always be obvious to victims when, where or how they were exposed to asbestos. However, with the help of an attorney familiar with the dangerous history of asbestos, a person can figure out what products they used decades ago that have since been linked to causing cancer.
Source: Fair Warning, “Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After ‘the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History’,” Myron Levin, Oct. 22, 2013