World No Tobacco Day 2022
Today is World No Tobacco Day. Tobacco use has a large history in the United States. It was once smoked in pipes for medicinal and ceremonial purposes by Native Americans. Tobacco was first commercially cultivated in Virginia in 1612, and within a few years, it became the colony’s largest export. Tobacco was mostly used for smoking in pipes, chewing, and snuff. Cigars were not popular until the early 1800s and although a crude from of cigarettes were around since the 1600s, they were not popular until after the civil war when “Bright Tobacco,” a cured yellow leaf from Virginia and North Carolina, became available. Cigarette sales increased again when “White Burley” tobacco and the first practical cigarette-making machine was invented in the late 1880s.
Smoking was not considered dangerous for many years. This changed when medical and scientific journals released articles describing the dangers of smoking early in the 20th century. In 1930 researchers found a statistical correlation between smoking and cancer. Other research came out later showing that people who smoke do not live as long as non-smokers. Around 1944 the American Cancer Society gave warnings about smoking and cancer risk but clarified that there is still no definitive evidence of this occurring. In 1952, a Reader’s Digest Article came out detailing the many dangers of smoking, which caused cigarette sales to decline.
The tobacco industry obviously did not like the decrease in sales, so it created the Tobacco Industry Research Council. The main purpose of this organization was to counter any claims of heath effects caused by smoking. Tobacco companies in this period claimed that low tar and filtered cigarettes were healthier smoking products. This caused an increase in tobacco sales again, but the companies knew the products were dangerous. They were just claiming to have healthier versions of tobacco products. Like the asbestos industry, tobacco executives knew their products were unsafe, but continued to sell them, putting profits over the health and safety of consumers. Asbestos was valued for its heat and fire-resistant properties, but the substance was also very dangerous to human health. Asbestos companies decided it was worth sacrificing human lives to make money selling the product.
A formal declaration of a link between smoking and cancer came from the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health. A 367-page report was released titled “Smoking and Health,” concluding that cigarette smoking is causally linked to lung cancer in men. There was less data for women who smoked, but the data still pointed to smoking causing lung cancer in women as well.
Many people believe that since they smoked, they are not entitled to compensation for their lung cancer resulting from asbestos exposure. This is false. Tobacco smoke and asbestos have a synergistic relationship, meaning they work together to give someone cancer. Since asbestos companies sold their products and knew that these products endangered the lives of workers, people exposed to asbestos are entitled to compensation, whether they smoked or not.
If you were exposed to asbestos and now have lung cancer, you could be entitled to compensation, even if you smoked. Contact us today if you have lung cancer, mesothelioma, or another cancer that you believe could be caused from asbestos exposure. We will do anything we can to help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form to speak to a member of our team.