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Nicotine Timeline:



1964 The first major report on smoking and health, Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General, is published. The report shows a link between cigarette smoking and cancer, and called for remedial measures. The first national antismoking coalition is formed and insurance companies begin offering discounted rates to non-smokers.

1965 Congress requires warning labels on cigarettes.

1967 The Federal Trade Commission rules that the Fairness Doctrine applies to cigarette ads, requiring broadcasters that air such ads to donate time to smoking prevention messages.

1969 The National Association of Broadcasters endorses a phase-out of cigarette ads.

1970 Congress passes a law banning cigarette ads on television and radio and requires a stronger warning on cigarette packages

1973 The Civil Aeronautics Board requires non-smoking sections on all commercial airliners and Arizona becomes the first state to restrict smoking in public places.

1977 The American Cancer Society sponsors the first "Great American Smokeout."

1981 A Surgeon-General's report concludes no level of cigarette consumption is safe.

1982 Congress doubles the excise tax on cigarettes to 16 cents per pack.

1988 A Surgeon-General's report concludes nicotine is addictive. Congress bans smoking on domestic flights of two hours or less.

1990 Smoking is banned on all domestic flights of six hours or less.

1991 The federal cigarette tax is increased to 20 cents. The FDA approves use of a nicotine patch to help smokers quit.

1992 The federal government denies funding to states that do not ban tobacco sales to minors.

1994 Legislation proposes to prohibit smoking in the workplace. Major cigarette manufacturers testify before Congress that nicotine is not addictive and that they did not manipulate nicotine levels in their cigarettes. Mississippi becomes the first state to sue the tobacco industry to recover Medicaid costs to tobacco-related illnesses.

1995 The Journal of the American Medical Association publishes articles claiming that tobacco companies knew about the harmful effects of smoking and that nicotine is addictive.

1996 The Liggett Group offers to settle the Castano class action lawsuit, the biggest of the tobacco liability cases. It is the first time a manufacturer takes responsibility for tobacco-related deaths and diseases. Four companies later agree to pay the state .4 billion over 25 years.

1997 The nation's largest tobacco companies settle a Florida lawsuit by agreeing to pay the state .3 billion over the next 25 years and to take steps aimed at reducing underage smoking. The industry also settles a 9 million class action suit over second-hand smoke with airline flight attendants. A federal judge rules that the government can regulate tobacco as a drug.

1998 Tobacco firms settle lawsuits in Texas and Minnesota. A Florida jury imposes damages for a smoker's death. Industry leaders are in talks with states about legislation that would limit lawsuits in return for restrictions on tobacco sales and use. The Senate kills such a settlement bill. Forty-six states approve a 6 billion settlement with cigarette makers.

1999 The Justice Department sues the tobacco industry to recover costs of treating sick smokers and accuses cigarette makers of deceit.

March 2000 In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the FDA cannot regulate tobacco as a drug without Congressional action.

April 2000 A Florida jury rules that cigarettes caused the cancer of two smokers who sued Big Tobacco. Jurors awarded millions to the smokers. Billions in punitive damages may be imposed later.

July 2000 The same Florida jury orders the tobacco industry to pay more than 5 billion in punitive damages to sick Florida smokers, a record-shattering verdict that the cigarette companies had claimed would amount to a "death warrant."

March 2001 Reports emerge that five states (Arizona, California, New York, Ohio and Washington State) will file suit against R.J. Reynolds for allegedly violating the 1998 national tobacco settlement by placing tobacco ads in magazines and at car race tracks.

June 4, 2001 A Brooklyn jury ordered Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Co. and other cigarette makers to pay up .8 million to an insurance company that claimed deceptive marketing practices led more of its members to smoke.

June 19, 2001 The Bush administration decides to seek a settlement in the federal government's lawsuit against tobacco firms, which seeks reimbursement for money spent by federal health plans on tobacco-related illnesses.

October 4, 2002 A jury in California awarded a record-shattering billion in punitive damages to a 64-year-old former smoker who sued Philip Morris Inc. for fraud and negligence.the company has said it will appeal and the award is expected to be reduced on appeal.

May 21, 2003 A Florida appeals court tosses out 2000's record-setting 5 billion verdict against the nation's five biggest cigarette makers, saying it should not have been a class-action suit. The appeals court also agreed with the tobacco industry that the award would have violated state law by bankrupting them. The jury had decided that cigarettes are deadly, addictive and defective because they make people sick when used as directed.

Oct. 6, 2003 The U.S. Supreme Court throws out an million verdict against Philip Morris, saying lower courts should review the 1999 verdict to ensure it is not unconstitutionally excessive. The family of Jesse D. Williams, an Oregon janitor who died in 1997 of lung cancer, says he kept smoking because he did not believe a company would sell something that was truly harmful.

Sept. 21, 2004 The government's 0 billion civil racketeering suit against the tobacco industry goes to trial. The Justice Department says starting in the 1960s the industry spent millions to counter scientific evidence linking smoking to cancer. The industry says it has changed its ways following its 1998 settlement with states, and therefore the government will not be able to meet the burden of proof that there is the potential for fraud in the future.

Feb. 4, 2005 In a huge victory for Big Tobacco, a U.S. appeals court rules that the Justice Department can't seek the 0 billion it alleges the industry earned through misleading the public. At issue was whether the civil racketeering (RICO) statute the case was brought under permits recovery of money for past actions. The industry said the case should have come under criminal RICO laws, which hold a higher burden of proof and allow such a penalty.


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