Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

Jury Finds Tobacco Industry Not Liable In Secondhand Smoke Case

A Mississippi jury deliberated for two hours before deciding that the tobacco industry was not liable for the lung cancer that caused Burl Butler's death.

The verdict marks the second time a secondhand smoke case has gone to jury, and both times the tobacco industry has prevailed.

Lawyers for Burl Butler argued that his exposure to secondhand smoke for 30 years in his Laurel, Mississippi barbershop caused his cancer.

Butler died in 1994 at the age of 60. Tobacco lawyers argued that Butler had a family history of cancer and that he had also been exposed to asbestos in talcum power and methylene chlordie in hair spray.

T. Roe Frazer, the Butler family lawyer, said "I still believe we are right and environmental smoke is deadly. It's just sad that this jury didn't feel like it needed to make that statement."

Andrew McGaan, attorney for Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., said in a prepared statement: "The industry showed that credible evidence does not exist to show that ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) causes lung cancer in nonsmokers even at the highest levels likely to be encountered in real world environments."

Source: Reuters, (6/2/99), "Tobacco companies win second-hand smoke trial"
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