Dealing with issues from asbestos in cigarettes 60 years later

You’d be hard pressed to find a person who does not know about the dangers of asbestos. It seems the warnings about its harmful effects are everywhere and yet this didn’t used to be the case 60 years ago. Looking back, even with the asbestos risk having been well documented, society’s trust in science and technology then has proven fatal now.

Case after case appear in cities across the nation regarding people suffering from asbestos-related health problems such as lung disease and mesothelioma. In many cases, their debilitating illness is the direct result of smoking one brand of cigarettes in particular: Kent. That’s because, as many of our older readers may remember, these particular brand used a ‘Micronite’ filter made of asbestos. Now, nearly 60 years later, people are still suffering from its effects.

This was evident in a recent case out of Florida in which a jury awarded a former Kent smoker $3.5 million in damages. He suffers from mesothelioma linked to the asbestos found in Kent cigarettes. But it’s not just smokers who were affected by this harmful product. Cases of workers suffering from lung disease have been cropping up for decades in occupations linked to asbestos mining and cigarette manufacturing. While many manufacturers insist that the cancer-causing asbestos particles hardly escaped, the fact that thousands of people have been injured by this dangerous product calls into question the validity of these assertions.

Litigation regarding Lorillard and Hollingsworth & Vose, who created the Kent cigarette and are located here in North Carolina, could cost the company millions because of the part they played in spreading asbestos-related diseases. Ninety cases are said to have already been settled by the company with another 60 pending. The hope now is that the victims still waiting to have their cases heard do not have to wait the same length of time as this problem has been smoldering.

Source: Mother Jones, “Remember When Big Tobacco Sold Asbestos as the ‘Greatest Health Protection’?” Myron Levin, Oct. 22, 2013