And We Pay the Price

Finally, after three decades of the vicious war between the US government and the major tobacco companies, the lawsuits made by 22 American states against tobacco companies were successful. One of the tobacco companies, The Liggett Group, was obligated to cooperate with the American government in 21 March 1997, and in return they were exempted from paying billions of dollars to treat patients with smoking-related conditions in those states.


The company agreed on the following points:

  • Admitting that smoking leads to addiction and cancer

  • Admitting that tobacco companies target children and minors in most of their advertisement campaigns to turn them into addicts, to ensure the continuation of their sales.

  • Cooperating with the American law system to release important documents that condemn the rest of major tobacco companies.

  • Paying one-quarter of the annual pre-tax profits to the 22 states involved, throughout the next 25 years.

The American government is investigating some of the documents which prove that tobacco companies conspired to hide the facts about smoking from the American people for many years.


The Liggett Group confirmed that the directors of those companies lied to the Congress when testifying that nicotine does not cause addiction when they actually knew that fact for years.


The attorney general, Robert Butterworth, explained that it is possible to sue the directors of those cmpanies – based on these documents – for huge financial penalties, as well as individual penalties that could reach imprisonment.


America noticed the danger of smoking and its ability to waste the powers of nations and exploit their resources. The direct health losses caused by smoking in America were estimated to exceed $100 billion annually. Despite the decrease in the number of smokers in America during the last few years – from 41% to 20% – sales saw an annual increase by 3%, as a result of finding new markets and the growing number of smokers in the third world, especially that those companies did not receive any resistance in those countries as a result of the absence of strict laws and lack of anti-smoking institutions as well as the absence of restrictions on media. For instance, some tobacco companies produce types of cigarettes with high nicotine content that is not allowed for sale in the US, despite the fact that it was made in USA, which leads to quick addiction outside of America.


The United States Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), James Mason, described the practices of tobacco companies as unethical and inhumane, as they exploit the resources of these countries while they try so hard to escape the boundaries of poverty and ignorance.



America, one of the biggest exporters of tobacco and the first beneficiary of its sales and taxes, found that losses surpass the benefits, which led to the waged war against its own companies. In our Arab world, however, being consuming nations, the losses are even doubled, as we became an easy prey for the greedy tobacco companies. The rates of smokers in our Arab world went up to sorrowful numbers, which is confirmed by the statistics of the World Health Organization.


The attorney general and the American law in 22 states are defending the rights of their citizens who were harmed by this fatal habit.


Who will defend the rights of those affected of our people?