In Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a Florida jury sent a clear message about the health hazards caused by cigarettes with a verdict against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. The cigarette maker must pay $14 million for punitive damages to the widow of a long-time smoker. The woman had already received $ 10.5 million for compensatory damages, bringing the verdict to an amount of $ 24.5 million dollars.
The money goes to Barbara Jean Johnston, whose husband, Franklin Johnston, died of lung cancer after being a smoker three packages a day for most of his life. The man’s addiction was so serious that in the seventies, he could not stop buying cigarettes, although that impaired his ability to support his family.
Why are tobacco companies responsible?
For decades, tobacco companies hid how dangerous their products are. As a result, smokers smoked cigarettes without fear of consequences. But, when people discovered that cigarettes were harmful to their health by increasing the risk of cancer, lawsuits were filed against many of these companies.
Among the verdicts that were unleashed, our attorneys were able to get $90.8 million for Lyantie Townsend, the wife of a long-time smoker. In fact, the story of Townsend’s husband is remarkably similar to Johnston’s.
These verdicts are historical and the evidence that cigarettes are dangerous to our health is not a novelty, however, many people are still smoking.
A recent study claims that cigarettes account for more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in the United States, according to the New York Times. Although these deaths are not attributed to lung cancer, the study found that cigarette smoking caused between 80 and 85 percent of all deaths from lung cancer in the United States.
The report also highlighted the efforts to control tobacco consumption are working, having avoided an estimated 8 million deaths. However, in many parts of the country the effort is weak and many people continue to smoke, so cigarettes are still the main cause of lung cancer.
Smokers can reduce the likelihood of developing lung cancer by quitting. However, that is easier said than done, and a person may not want to leave it.
Early detection is key
If a person smokes or stopped smoking recently, tests should be done to check for signs of lung cancer through a CT scan, according to the Lung Cancer Alliance.
The objective of these tests is to detect cancer early in people with a higher risk of developing the disease. If the cancer is detected early it is more manageable, and the diagnosed person has a greater chance of survival making treatments that improve their quality of life.
It is recommended that a person be screened for lung cancer if they are between 55 and 80 years old, smoked packs a day for many years, currently smokes or quit smoking in the past 15 years.
While these tests can help detect cancer early, which is the best scenario for treatment, it is best not to smoke cigarettes. Ideally, one day early cancer screening tests are not necessary because people stopped smoking cigarettes. At the moment, we know that this is still far away.