This is a case about choice. Some people may choose to
stop smoking and have real difficulty,
Mrs. Karbiwnyk for many years chose to continue to smoke
Mrs. Karbiwnyk started smoking Reynolds cigarettes
sometime after October of 1957 and the entire warning period that
is in question here is between that time -- sometime after October 1957
and July 1st, 1969, when congress' warning became preemptive.
Now, let's think about products with risks. You go down any
department store aisle, any supermarket aisle, any sporting good aisle and
there are loads of products with risk. Alcohol, certainly;
skateboards, butter, almost everything that we have has risks. What
makes cigarettes different more than anything else is that the
risks are so well-known and have been for so long.
Let's go back to that awareness pole that you saw. This was the pole in
1954, way back, that asked, "Have you heard or read that cigarette
smoking may cause lung cancer?" 90 percent of the
American public had heard or read that.
. And if you're a smoker and you see reports on CBS News
or in the newspapers, in the serious newspapers, in magazines of lung
cancer, obviously that has more personal effect on you.You can receive warnings
and choose to ignore them, as Mrs. Karbiwnyk said she did,
congress hasn't made them (cigarettes) a legal product because it
believes them to be safe, but rather because it understands that the public
knows the risks of the product and also believes that it's a personal
choice whether to smoke or not; as it is to take on many
other risks in life.
It says, "It's the official government position that cigarette
smoking causes cancer," which wasn't until 1964 in the
surgeon general's report.
What makes cigarettes different from other products? Is that the
risks -- not just that the risks in some respects are different, but they
are so well-known.
The basic point. What people had heard in the '50s, what
people heard thereafter was that cigarette smoking can
cause death. People heard that it shortens their life expectancy, and
they heard specifically lung cancer. That's what the public -- all
of the public heard. That's what most of the public believed.
Mrs. Karbiwnyk, although the surgeon general had said that cigarette
smoking causes cancer --"Uh-huh." -- that had no effect on your conduct And you
chose to continue smoking as you had before; isn't that right?
1964 Mrs. Karbiwnyk heard the surgeon general say that cigarette
smoking causes cancer and shortens life and she believed
it, but she decided to continue exactly as before. "You
understood the risks involved in smoking. As you said yourself, it was
there in black and white; isn't that right?
"It was on there, yeah.
"And you made a choice to ignore the warning; isn't that correct?
"And you chose to continue notwithstanding Congress has
decided that cigarettes should be a legal product with all of the information before them, because they want each of us to choose.
Because reasonable people can choose to smoke.
congress, having been provided with all the surgeon generals' reports
and all the information available, has decided to allow the sale of cigarettes
These people (nic. industry) devoted their lives to trying to make cigarettes
that were less hazardous and people would buy. And they worked with the
If anybody could produce a cigarette that people would want
to smoke that
eliminated the risks that have been associated with cigarettes….Reynolds
has consistently tried to work with the government in designing cigarettes.
expectations are not that this is a safe product, those have never
been consumer expectations regarding cigarettes. Consumers believe cigarettes
to be a risky product, including the risk of lung cancer, including the
risk of death.
"It's your testimony that if smokers had switched over to Premier
or Eclipse, lung cancer deaths would have decreased? "Yes, sir.
Premier and Eclipse, over a billion dollars devoted to the research and
development of that and people still haven't bought it. They spent
hundreds of millions of dollars. No one bought it. It was not commercially
feasible. It could not be sold at any price that would make a profit,The
design of these cigarettes contained risks but they were the risks
of cigarettes, and those risks have been well-known.
Our last witness works with people who want to stop smoking, he
said that in his entire career, which goes back to the early '60s, he has
never had a smoker who didn't understand the risks of smoking.
In fact, in his entire career, every smoker who he's treated has
thought he was going to get lung cancer
The point is that these risks are
so well-known, they are so absorbed by the community.The one thing
that you've known all your life essentially was related to lung cancer
is smoking; she said yes.
And that's why what she knew, what she understood, and the choices
that she made are at the very center of this lawsuit
I submit to you, the one thing you know is that Mrs. Karbiwnyk, through
all or at least most of her smoking history understood that cigarettes
might kill her, and she said herself that she decide to smoke.