Wednesday, a Massachusetts jury awarded the family of a long-time smoker $21 million. According to the suit, Frederick Laramie was a long time Marlboro smoker who died of lung cancer. The plaintiffs alleged that Malboro’s parent company, Phillip Morris, handed out free cigarettes to children to get them addicted. According to an internal document, getting children hooked early was key to the companies strategy. This is because and adolescence brain is still developing and can easily become addicted to nicotine.
Lawyers for Morris argued that Laramie was a strong-willed man, and knew the health risks of smoking. However, despite his knowledge, he continued to smoke anyway. The jury disagreed. The only thing Phillip Morris was not guilty of, according to the jury, was that they were not negligently distributing cigarettes to Laramie when he was a minor. The Suffolk County Superior Court Jury awarded the Laramie family $11 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
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