Vice Squad
Friday, April 04, 2008
Big Tobacco, Big Win

You know how light cigarettes are better for you than regular cigarettes? Oops, that's right, there is evidence that they aren't better for you. They would be, presumably, if you smoked light cigarettes the same way that you smoke regular ones. But precisely because they are light, you will tend to smoke seven light cigarettes simultaneously, and then eat the still smoldering butts. Or something like that.

Hey, didn't tobacco companies sort of suggest that light cigarettes weren't as harmful as regular cigarettes, without telling us that we would smoke them seven at a time and then eat the detritus? Let's sue! For, oh, $800 billion! We'll use the RICO Act against those tobacco racketeers! It's a class action!

Or it was:
A federal appeals court tossed out an $800 billion class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies on Thursday brought by smokers who said they were deceived into believing "light" cigarettes were healthier.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said the smokers could not sue collectively. The decision means each individual smoker must prove that she or he had selected the product for perceived health benefits.

Seems that there might be questions of fact that were not common to the putative group. For instance, some people might have purchased light cigarettes for the cachet, instead of any suggested health benefits.

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