The family of Marie Evans is suing is Lorillard Tobacco Co. for her Massachusetts wrongful death. Evans died of lung cancer in 2002. She was 54 and had been smoking for more than 40 years. The Boston wrongful death trial opened in Suffolk Superior Court today.
The family blames the tobacco company for Evans’ addiction to tobacco. They contend that the cigarette company got her hooked on smoking when she was a young girl by giving her and other black children free samples of Newport cigarettes. They claim that white trucks transported the cigarettes to urban neighborhoods and that Lorillard Tobacco purposely enticed Evans with the giveaways. Three other companies that gave out the Newport cigarettes in the Boston area are also named in the Suffolk County wrongful death lawsuit.
According to her family, Evans received her first free cigarettes when she was 7 or 8, started smoking when she was 13, and ended up smoking a pack and a half of Newport cigarettes a day. She reportedly tried quitting some 50 times during her life but was unable to because she was addicted to cigarettes. Evans continued smoking after she suffered a heart attack in 1985 and doctors told her she should stop.
Although Lorillard Tobacco admits to giving away free cigarettes from the 50’s through the 80’s, its attorney contends that children were never targeted. The tobacco company is arguing that it shouldn’t be held liable for any harm that Evans suffered after 1966 when cigarette labels had to come with warnings.
Evans’ family is not the only one to ever sue a tobacco company over a loved one’s wrongful death. Over the years, many people have died because of their addiction to smoking. Also, smoking cigarettes has been linked to not just several kinds of cancer, but also, heart disease, pregnancy complications, vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and large cell carcinoma.