Manhattan Co-op Resident Wins $120K In Lawsuit Over Secondhand Smoke Infiltration

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has awarded a co-op apartment owner more than $120,000 in maintenance and fees after she sued over damage to her place from people smoking in neighboring apartments, which she said also affected her health.

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Raise the Legal Age for Cigarette Sales to 21

The biggest reason to raise the legal age to 21 is to reduce young people’s access to tobacco when they are more likely to become addicted and when their brains are still developing. Studies have found that nicotine, the main addictive ingredient in cigarettes, can impair cognition among young people. About 90 percent of adult smokers first use cigarettes before turning 19, and almost all smokers start before age 26, according to an Institute of Medicine study published last year.

Read full NYT Editorial Board piece>

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Tougher smoking laws passed in Queensland

Queensland has passed some of the toughest smoking laws in the country.

From September 1, lighting up will be outlawed at or near childcare facilities, bus stops and taxi ranks, public pools, children’s sporting venues, skate parks and outdoor malls.

The new laws also ban the sale of tobacco products from pop-up retail outlets, such as at music festivals.

Read more>

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Major NY Law Firm Brags of Denying Smokers ‘Standard of Care’ For ‘Early Detection of Lung Cancer’

A legal victory is one thing but ​for lawyers for a tobacco company to publicly celebrate denying potential cancer victims the best way of identifying lung disease as early as possible seems reprehensible. . . even for a law firm. ​

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Tobacco plain packaging likely to be law in New Zealand by end of year

A law that would force tobacco companies to wrap their cigarettes in plain packaging could be in action by the end of the year.

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed a bill, on pause partway through the parliamentary process, would be resumed and he expected it to become law “sooner as opposed to later”.

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How Tobacco Companies Factor into the Presidential Primaries

As the first primary elections begin, you are probably thinking about a lot of factors when considering who to vote for. But have you thought about how tobacco plays into the election? 

Many people consider tobacco a public health issue, so when voting, your candidate’s support for tobacco control legislation may be an important factor. But, very few people consider whether their candidate has accepted campaign financing from Big Tobacco. And they should; financing from Big Tobacco can have a huge impact on public health.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world today, and it is the only product on the market that, when used exactly as intended, kills. About half a million Americans die prematurely each year because of tobacco use, including nonsmokers who die from secondhand tobacco smoke.

There is an irreconcilable conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health.

Candidates that accept campaign funding from Big Tobacco may feel obligated to pass laws that protect and support the tobacco industry, instead of laws that protect and support public health. Lawmakers should be on the side of public health, not the tobacco industry. It is their obligation to keep their constituents healthy and safe from the harms of tobacco products.

Here is an infographic of presidential candidates who have accepted the most money from the tobacco industry in the 2016 election cycle. As you can see, this is a problem that crosses party lines: both Democrats and Republicans have accepted money from tobacco corporations.

Thank you to Center for Responsive Politics for the finance data, and please check back for our more detailed campaign contributions map, including Congressional races, in fall 2016.

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35 Health Groups Urge Congress to Support Trans-Pacific Partnership Provision Protecting Health Measures from Tobacco Industry Attacks

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As the United States and 11 other countries prepare to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement later today, 35 leading public health and medical groups today urged Congress to support a TPP provision that protects life-saving tobacco control measures from tobacco industry legal attacks under the agreement.

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On Twitter, e-cigarette ads spread like secondhand smoke

Several states have enacted laws limiting where e-cigarettes can be used — after citing public health concerns — but as no federal law has been created to curtail e-cigarette advertising, companies are resorting to tactics employed by the heyday of the Marlboro Man. But this time, their message is wafting even farther in the wind of social media, according to the study.

“As public health researchers our job is to figure out whether people are seeing messages that might lead them to make unhealthy decisions,” said Kar-Hai Chu, PhD, a researcher scientist of preventative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, who authored the study. “If an e-cigarette tweet reaches underage users and makes them curious about trying e-cigarettes, that is something we would want to know. The results of the study could help provide guidelines and advice for many potential regulations.”

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Potentially pivotal suit pits smokers vs. Big Tobacco

A decade after a group of American smokers sued Philip Morris USA to try to force the cigarette maker to pay for lung cancer screenings, the case will finally be heard by a jury.

Smokers from Massachusetts allege in the class-action lawsuit that Philip Morris manufactured a defective cigarette knowing it could have made a safer product with fewer carcinogens.

Read more>

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The True Cost of Smoking by State

WalletHub’s analysts calculated the potential monetary losses — including the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

WalletHub estimated the financial cost of smoking in the U.S. to be roughly $1.6 million per smoker over a lifetime.

States with the Lowest Smoking Costs States with the Highest Smoking Costs
1 Louisiana 42 District of Columbia
2 Kentucky 43 New Jersey
3 Missouri 44 Washington
4 West Virginia 45 Minnesota
5 North Carolina 46 Rhode Island
6 Georgia 47 Connecticut
7 Tennessee 48 Hawaii
8 South Carolina 49 Alaska
9 Mississippi 50 Massachusetts
10 Alabama 51 New York

Key Findings

  • The out-of-pocket cost per smoker is $115,214 over a lifetime. Smokers in New York will pay two times more than smokers in Missouri.
  • The financial opportunity cost per smoker is $1,089,471 over a lifetime. Smokers in New York will pay two times more than smokers in Missouri.
  • Each smoker will incur an average of $220,855 in income loss over a lifetime. Smokers in Mississippi will lose the least, $161,013, which is 2 times less than in Maryland, the state that will lose the most.
  • Each smoker will incur an average of $164,876 in smoking-related health-care costs over a lifetime. Smokers in Massachusetts will pay two times more than smokers in Kentucky.


Read full report here>

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New Global Anti-tobacco Leadership


Contact: Megan Arendt


New Global Anti-tobacco Leadership

After twelve years of success, ASH passes FCA baton to HealthBridge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 20, 2016 – After more than a decade of successful leadership and myriad public health victories, Laurent Huber of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the U.S. passed the leadership of the Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control (FCA) to Francis Thompson of HealthBridge Canada. The change was effective January 1, 2016.

The FCA was formed during negotiations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be the voice of the global public health community, and it has been lauded for its role in achieving a strong international treaty to combat the tobacco epidemic. Huber was the first director of the FCA, and he shepherded the FCA through negotiations and implementation of the first global public health treaty. Thompson has served as FCA policy director for several years.

“I regard the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as vitally important for global health and, without a doubt, the role of the FCA in motivating, organizing and coordinating the input of civil society into the treaty-making process was crucial to its success,” stated Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, World Health Organization, 1998-2003.

The FCTC was conceived at a time when multinational tobacco companies were moving into low income countries in earnest, seeing potential profits from populations who, unlike in the high income counties, had not been educated on the dangers of smoking. The World Health Organization estimates that, without dramatic changes, tobacco will claim one billion lives in the 21st century. The FCTC is meant to be that dramatic change.

Early in the FCTC negotiations, ASH made the decision to commit itself to go beyond domestic US tobacco control and confront Big Tobacco on the world stage. At the time, there was no global civil society movement to combat tobacco. The FCA was formed to combine the voices of dozens (later hundreds) of public health groups to demand strong global action. ASH played a critical role in forming the informal coalition. FCA was later incorporated in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003, with Mr. Huber as its director. Today, FCA includes over 500 organizations from over 100 countries.

The FCA became a broad civil society coalition widely recognized by governments, non-governmental organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations for its vital role in shaping the FCTC, the first global public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO.

During the past 15 years, the global tobacco control community experienced several successes.

• The FCTC entered into force on February 27, 2005 in near record time for a UN treaty. The FCTC now has 180 Parties and 168 Signatories.

Guidelines for implementation of 8 Articles of the FCTC were developed and adopted: Article 5.3 (Industry Interference), Article 6 (Tax and Price Measures), Article 8 (Protection from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke), Article 9/10 (Tobacco Regulation and Disclosure), Article 11 (Packaging and Labelling), Article 12 (Communication), Article 13 (Advertising/sponsorship), and Article 14 (Cessation).

• The Protocol to Combat the Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products was negotiated and adopted.

• Many countries have effectively implemented FCTC measures, resulting in millions of humans being protected from tobacco smoke, tobacco advertising, and their associated harms.

• Tobacco was a central aspect of the UN High Level Meeting on the Treatment and Prevention of NCDs, ensuring that addressing the tobacco epidemic was a central element of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Strategy.

• ASH and FCA worked together to influence the development of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), resulting in the integration of the FCTC and tobacco control in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

“I had the privilege to work closely with the FCA through the development of the FCTC and to witness firsthand the expertise they bring to the process of negotiating and adopting complex policy.  The importance of having non-government and government agencies work together cannot be underestimated, and FCA understands very well how to influence governments to create the best possible policies,” said President Tábare Vázquez, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, 2005 to 2010 and 2015 to present.

ASH will continue to work with the FCA and its incoming director with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the life-saving measures of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).




Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at

Follow us on Twitter @ASHOrg and Facebook

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Kids Overexposed to Cigarettes in Video Games

Hundreds of video games come out every year. Avid gamers have at least 326 news ones to look forward to in 2016.

If previous years are any indication, many of these games will contain images of cigarettes and tobacco use. Experts worry they could lead young people, who clock hours a day playing video games, to start smoking.

Read on>

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First Singapore, now Norway calls for tobacco sales ban on those born after 2000

January 2016: The president of the Norwegian Medical Association, Marit Hermansen, has called for a ban on the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000 as a first step to create a smoke-free society by 2035.

According to Hermansen “It shouldn’t be forbidden to smoke, but we want young people to not get started with tobacco.” If the goal was to prevent young people from picking up smoking, they should not be able to buy tobacco products when they come of age, she added. Hermansen said she believed it was possible to get political support for the proposal.

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Japan Tobacco aims to become world’s leading merchant of death

Mitsuomi Koizumi, 58, president of Japan Tobacco Inc., discussed how his company has evolved since its privatization in 1985 as well as its future strategy, in an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun.

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U.K. Approves E-Cigarette Prescriptions To Help People Quit Smoking

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s drug regulators have given the go-ahead for a British American Tobacco electronic-cigarette vaping device to be sold as a quit smoking medicine, the first such product to be given a drug license in the UK.

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Statement from ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber

Making Priorities into our RealityLH headshot - COP6

This year has been one filled with milestones for the public health and tobacco control communities.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), call on governments to strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Reducing tobacco deaths is now recognized on paper as a global priority; let’s make it a reality on the ground.

And as a first in trade history, tobacco is singled out as a unique product in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and countries in the Pacific Rim have the option to carve out the Investor State Dispute Mechanism (ISDS) for tobacco products.

These are major accomplishments, and it is clear that governments around the world are taking a stand. They want to take action and prevent the preventable in the 21st century: a billion unnecessary, premature deaths and the loss of trillions of dollars to the global economy caused by tobacco use. 

However, it is not enough to recognize that tobacco is a major problem in UN settings and in international trade negotiations.  To make a world free from the harms caused by tobacco a reality, governments need to take action on the ground and fully commit to implementing the measures that will help prevent the scourge of tobacco.

The tobacco industry continues to be a very profitable industry. The global number of deaths attributable to tobacco use is still rising, and unfortunately, smoking prevalence is increasing among the most vulnerable populations, the poor and the disenfranchised.

But now that the world has recognized on paper that addressing the tobacco-related epidemic is a priority, it is up to all of us to hold our governments accountable to what they have agreed.  We need to encourage governments to make the right choice: prioritizing health over tobacco industry profits.

In 2016 we will need to take action, here in the U.S. and abroad, with our friends all over the world, to make sure that reducing tobacco deaths is a national priority.  The world is facing numerous challenges, some that are very difficult to overcome, but this is one development challenge that the world can achieve.

Tell your local government, as well as your national government, to allocate resources to implement the life saving measures we know can work to reduce tobacco use: increase taxes on tobacco products, ban all forms of advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products, protect everyone from exposure to tobacco smoke, place large pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages and consider standardized packaging. Governments can even consider further actions, such as reducing the content of nicotine to make the product less addictive and seriously restricting the sale and trading of tobacco products.

When it comes to one of the principal causes of death in the world – tobacco use – we know what to do.

We don’t have to invent a cure; we just have to implement it.

Donate Now

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2015 was a Very Bad Year for the Tobacco Industry

And it’s only going to get worse for them.

I was asked two weeks ago to blog about my end-of-year thoughts. Something told me to procrastinate, and I am glad I did. Within 24 hours before putting fingers to keyboard, good news came from afar. First, after several years of litigation, Australia has emerged victorious in its trade dispute with Philip Morris International over plain – or standardized – packaging. And on the same day, France announced that it too would implement tobacco packaging without industry branding.

As important as these outcomes are, they are merely piling on at the end of a year that has seen stunning defeats for the tobacco industry. It will never again be “business as usual” for an industry that kills half of its long-term customers. There is not the space to list every victory for public health, but to highlight a few: 1

• Nova Scotia, Alberta and New Brunswick[1] became the first jurisdictions in the world to ban all tobacco flavorings, including menthol. Two other provinces and several other countries will follow in 2016.

• Standardized packaging was announced in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France,[2] the first countries to follow Australia. Norway, Hungary, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and Canada will likely follow next year.

• Nepal implemented the largest graphic health warnings in history, occupying 90% of a cigarette pack.

These are important incremental victories, chipping away at the core business of Big Tobacco. But 2015 also saw two fundamental changes in the way the world addresses tobacco products, changes that will have a profound and growing impact on the tobacco epidemic. And ASH was pleased to be at the center of both.

1. In September, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, the blueprint for ending poverty by 2030. Unlike the previous set of goals, tobacco is front and center, and the world now formally recognizes that tobacco consumption stunts economic development and ruins families, in the U.S. and around the world.

2. Negotiations for the largest free trade agreement in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, concluded with an exception preventing tobacco corporations from suing governments over anti-tobacco measures (as PMI did to Australia under a different agreement). This is unprecedented in trade history.

Development and trade are new arenas for the public health community, and we caught the tobacco industry off-guard. The ramifications will take time to manifest, but they are inevitable. The days of the tobacco industry are numbered.

However, we are far from a final victory. In 2011, ASH made the decision to commit resources to fight tobacco in the worlds of development and trade. We will continue the pressure, and capitalize on these victories. But we are also investigating new “soft spots” in Big Tobacco’s armor. In 2016, we look forward to progress on a range of initiatives:

• Criminal liability – Big tobacco’s actions easily meet the definition of manslaughter, but no prosecutor has yet brought them to justice.

• Human rights – All individuals have the right to life and health. The tobacco industry continuously violates these rights.

• Tobacco-Free Generation – Tasmania is considering raising the age to purchase tobacco by one year, every year, eventually phasing out tobacco from society.

• Divestment – Too many institutional investors, including governments, create a conflict of interest by investing in tobacco companies.

• Pharmacies – It is a travesty that retailers devoted to health sell tobacco products at one end of the store while at the other end selling drugs to treat tobacco-related illnesses.

The tobacco wars are not yet won, but we can see the end. Your grandchildren will find it curious that it took so long.

Donate Now



Also in 2016, look for our campaign finance map. Many of U.S. elected representatives take campaign money from Big Tobacco, which is inevitably a conflict of interest when those same representatives legislate laws about tobacco control. Check back for an updated campaign map in 2016.


[1] As of 1/1/16.

[2] All three will come into force in 2016.

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Philip Morris loses case against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law

Cigarette company Philip Morris has suffered another defeat in its long-running bid to overturn Australia’s plain packaging laws.

An arbitration tribunal based in Singapore has issued a unanimous decision agreeing with Australia’s position that it has no jurisdiction to hear Philip Morris’s claim.

The Public Health Association of Australia described the result as the “best Christmas present for public health”.

Read on>

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Good news from our friends in the UK

ASH (UK) news release:

France commits to go ahead with standardised ‘plain’ cigarette packs as Big Tobacco’s UK legal challenge draws to a close

The tobacco industry’s challenge to the UK’s standardised tobacco packaging regulations is drawing to a close today and a ruling is expected to be made by the judge, the Hon. Mr Justice Green, in the New Year. This follows the commitment by the French parliament yesterday to proceed with standardised packaging, and the announcement that the Philip Morris challenge to the Australian government on tobacco plain packaging under a 1993 investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong has failed. [1]

Standardised ‘plain’ cigarette packaging is now spreading round the world, starting with Australia, followed by the UK and Ireland, with New Zealand, Norway, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Bulgaria and Canada following on behind. Australia went first, implementing in 2012, the UK, Ireland and France will be next from 20th May 2016.

Read on>

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Human Rights Day 2015

December 10th is recognized worldwide as Human Rights Day. It commemorates the anniversary of the day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR and other human rights treaties, both international and regional, protect myriad rights around the world, including the rights of women and children, and the right to life and health.

People don’t often think of tobacco as a human rights issue, but they should.

When people do think of tobacco as a human rights issue, the plight of tobacco farm workers often comes to mind first. Tobacco workers – often children – are exposed to nicotine and dangerous pesticides, and often work in deplorable conditions. Changes need to be made.

However, tobacco farming is not the only connection between tobacco and human rights.

Miao Yunfei working in his family's tobacco fields. In Huili County, Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China. Photo credit: Yung Chang. 2011, Source CHW8-promostill-2, Author Eye Steel Film from Canada

Miao Yunfei working in his family’s tobacco fields. In Huili County, Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China. Photo credit: Yung Chang. 2011, Source CHW8-promostill-2, Author Eye Steel Film from Canada

ASH is investigating the possibility of holding tobacco corporations responsible for tobacco-related deaths under human rights laws. These charges – for example, a violation of the right to life or right to health, among many others – would be levied against governments for not protecting their citizens from Big Tobacco.

There are several options for utilizing human rights laws to enforce tobacco control.

Some legal systems have mechanisms to hold the government and corporations responsible. In other systems, a human rights case would be directed solely against a government, but then that government would be required (or in some cases, recommended) to implement and enforce tobacco control laws within their countries, for example, by implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

One option is pursuing a case under a regional human rights treaty, like in the Inter-American system, European system, or African system. You can read more about a potential case in the Inter-American system here>.  Other options include pursuing recommendations from other international treaty bodies, such as the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, or pursuing a human rights case in a country that incorporates treaty obligations into its national constitution. There are many paths to choose from, but all of them require that tobacco be treated as a human rights issue.

HR day 2

Here at ASH, we share the wish of Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan- “It is my aspiration that health finally will be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for.” With our tobacco and human rights program, we are working to ensure that life, free from the death and diseases caused by tobacco, is a human right that can, and will be, fought for.

Read more about our human rights program here>.

Join the conversation about human rights on twitter with #HumanRightsDay and make sure to tag @ASHOrg.

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Criminal Cases about Consumer Products

The tobacco epidemic continues to spread around the world. Tobacco is unique – no other product kills half of its consumers when used exactly as intended.  If tobacco products were released as new products today, they would quickly be banned, and civil and criminal cases would be brought against tobacco corporations for the harms caused by tobacco.

Below are several other consumer products that have resulted in criminal cases. While each of these cases represents a terrible loss of life, all of them pale in comparison to the number of lives claimed by tobacco.


The Pinto Case State v. Ford Motor Co., Cause No. 11-431 (1980)

In 1978, three teenage girls driving in a Ford Pinto were hit from behind on Highway 33 in northern Indiana. Within moments their car burst into flames and all three of the girls were killed. An Indiana grand jury voted unanimously to indict Ford Motor Company on three counts of reckless homicide. Ford was accused of recklessly designing, manufacturing and marketing the Pinto’s unsafe fuel tank, in part because the corporation was aware of the design defects of the Pinto before production but did not rectify the problems.

  • Death toll – Between 27 to 180 consumers (reports differ). However, Ford sold approximately 2.2 million Pintos. Even at the high end of the estimates, the death toll is no more than .01% of consumers.
  • Outcome – NOT GUILTY
  • Lesson Learned – Corporations can be charged with criminal homicide in U.S. courts



BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill United States v. BP Exploration and Production, Inc. Court Docket Number: 2:12-CR-00292-SSVDEK.

In 2010, a spill from a broken oil well spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil, which ended up in the Gulf of Mexico and on the shorelines of several states. Eleven workers died during the explosion that triggered the spill. BP was charged and pled guilty to manslaughter, due to the fact that executives disregarded high-pressure readings right before the spill.

  • Death toll – 11 BP employees
  • OutcomeGUILTY
  • Lesson Learned – Corporations, and their executives, can be held criminally responsible for corporate manslaughter.


Peanut Butter

The Peanut Butter Case United States of America v. Parnell, Case No, 1:13-CR-12-WLS

From 2008-2009, an outbreak of salmonella infections in the U.S. was linked to contaminated peanut butter. Rodent droppings, dead insects, a leaking roof, and broken roasting equipment were found to be behind the contaminated peanut butter. The former CEO of Peanut Corporation of America was found guilty of “knowingly selling tainted peanut butter.” In addition to imprisonment for the CEO, PCA is facing an $11.2 million dollar fine. On September 21, 2015, Parnell was sentenced to 28 years in prison, the harshest penalty on record related to food-borne illness. Read more about this case here>.

  • Death toll – 9 consumers killed, 20,000 sickened. The company manufactured about 2.5% of the nation’s peanut products and sickened or killed .006% of Americans.
  • Outcome GUILTY
  • Lesson learned – knowingly selling a deadly product should result in a fine and jail time for corporate executives.



Tobacco products kill more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. In the United States, smoking is responsible for more than 440,000 deaths every year, about one in five of all deaths. Forty-two million American adults smoke; about half of them will die as a result.  As one state Supreme Court recently noted, cigarettes likely constitute “the most dangerous product lawfully sold” to consumers. Evans v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., 990 N.E.2d 997, 1019 (Mass 2013). The lethal consequences of smoking have been known to tobacco corporations for decades, yet they continue these activities, with full knowledge of the certainty of death to millions of consumers caused by the ordinary use of cigarettes.

  • Death toll 10 people die every minute from a tobacco-related disease. Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill 1 billion people this century.
  • Outcome – Tobacco companies are still marketing and selling their deadly products.
  • Lesson Learned -Tobacco corporations and their executives should be held criminally responsible for tobacco related deaths.


Corporations should be held responsible for the death and destruction caused by their products, especially when corporations knowingly advertise and sell deadly products, as is the case with Big Tobacco.

If you are interested in reading more about potential criminal liability for tobacco executives, read more on ASH’s website here>.

If you are interested in helping to fund the research that goes into the possibility of holding tobacco executives criminally liable, donate here>

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Video Exposé on a Deadly Consumer Product


Contact: Megan Arendt, 202-659-4310


Video Exposé on a Deadly Consumer Product

Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) releases parody video exposing #1 cause of preventable death

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 30, 2015 – ASH released a new video, Breaking News Broadcast, to draw attention to the ongoing disease and death caused by the tobacco epidemic.

Using a combination of humor and real facts, ASH provides a glimpse into the evening news report that would be streaming across every outlet if tobacco products were introduced to the market today. Society would be in an uproar. No other manufacturer can convince society to let them sell a product that will kill up to 50% of its consumers, consumers who are using the product exactly as intended.

No industry could market and legally sell a shirt, car, drink, or any other product that directly caused the societal damage that the tobacco industry’s products cause. $300 billion in economic costs for the US every year and 6 million people dying every year worldwide, from preventable diseases, cannot go unnoticed.

For example, a peanut butter executive recently received 28 years in prison for knowingly selling tainted products that killed 9 people and sickened up to 20,000. That pales in comparison to the death toll associated with tobacco products.

ASH intends this video to illustrate the often overlooked reality of tobacco products as addictive, deadly consumer products.

The Press Kit and video can be found here:

Thank you to everyone who supported this video through’s “Cause of the Month” program. For more information on joining the community of members who support ASH with their everyday online shopping, visit



Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at

Follow us on Twitter @ASHOrg and Facebook

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Obama’s Legacy on Tobacco

President Obama is moving to cement a significant legacy in the fight against smoking.

Despite Obama’s own struggles with cigarettes, many public health advocates see him as a champion on the issue, and a series of proposals in the waning months of his presidency could bolster his record.

Read on>

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Racial Politics Flavor Debate Over Banning Menthol Cigarettes

Lorillard Tobacco donated nearly four times as much to Republican candidates as to Democrats in the 2014 congressional elections. No surprise there — most businesses count on Republicans to hold the line on regulations and taxes.

But Lorillard made a striking exception for one set of Democrats: African Americans. It gave campaign cash to half of all black members of Congress, as opposed to just one in 38 non-black Democrats, according to an analysis by FairWarning of records from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Read on>

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ASH 2015 Tobacco Criminal Liability and Tobacco & Human Rights Report Card

ASH’s tobacco criminal liability program was created to investigate the possibility of holding tobacco corporations and their executives criminally liable for the millions of tobacco-related deaths. The tobacco and human rights program is related; it seeks to investigate the use of international and regional human rights bodies and treaties as a way to hold the tobacco industry responsible for human rights violations related to tobacco deaths around the world.

Criminal Liability KRS at WCTOH

– ASH attended the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) where we presented the criminal liability and human rights programs on two different panels, one organized by ASH and one that we were invited to join by the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network. In the closing plenary, in front of over 2,000 attendees from 100 countries, criminal liability was mentioned as a potential path forward. This is a significant step for the program; we passed the “straight face” test, and the tobacco control community views criminal liability as a viable option in the tobacco endgame.

– We also spent time following court cases that could be relevant to tobacco criminal liability. In July 2015, an important case was decided. The U.S. Probation Office recommended a life sentence for Stewart Parnell, the former CEO of Peanut Corporation of America, following his multiple felony conviction for “knowingly selling tainted peanut butter” that ended up killing nine people. The courts sentenced Parnell to 28 years in prison, the harshest penalty on record for a corporate officer related to food-borne illness. You can read more about how this case is important to tobacco here>.

Human Rights

– A journal article titled “Tobacco Industry Marketing: A Violation of Human Rights in Latin America” was written by ASH staff and published in the American Bar Association’s International Law News. That article was also selected for a feature on Best of the American Bar Association Sections in another ABA publication, GP Solo Magazine. ASIL

– ASH and our partners at the American Society of International Law and the American Cancer Society- Cancer Action Network hosted an event on Tobacco and International Law. The panelists, including ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber, discussed the possibility of tobacco as a violation of human rights treaties, in addition to the world’s first public health treaty (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC), and how other international tools might be utilized to achieve the FCTC’s goals. You can watch a video of the panel discussion here>

2015 was a big year for these programs. Check back next month to see all of the exciting things happening in 2016! And, please consider supporting ASH in this crucial fight by making a donation today.

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