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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August 2, 1960: Jury Links Cancer to Smoker's Death

"MIAMI, Fla., Aug. 2 -- A Federal Court jury ruled today that a Miami man had died as a result of smoking cigarettes for thirty years. It refused, however, to hold the cigarette manufacturer liable for his death.

"The decision came after lengthy consideration of a $1,500,000 damage suit filed by the estate of Edwin P. Green, who died at 49 in 1958 of lung cancer. It was the first time such a suit, directly attacking a tobacco manufacturer on the ground that cigarettes had caused lung cancer, had gone to a jury.

"The jury ruled on four questions: whether Mr. Green had lung cancer; whether lung cancer caused his death; whether the lung cancer was caused by his smoking Lucky Strike cigarettes, and whether the American Tobacco Company, the cigarette maker, was liable for his death.

"The jury answered yes on the first three questions, but no on the last.

"A court official said the jury's verdict indicated that it felt that the danger of cigarettes in causing cancer was not known sufficiently in February, 1956 -- when Mr. Green's cancer was discovered -- to hold the tobacco company liable.

"This posed the legal question of whether the verdict served notice on cigarette manufacturers that they might be held liable in the future."

-- United Press International