Philip Morris files $10 billion libel suit
VIRGINIA — Philip Morris Cos. filed a libel suit against ABC in late March, following two “Day One” broadcasts that suggested tobacco companies add nicotine to cigarettes so that smokers become addicted.
The suit, filed in state circuit court in Richmond, seeks $5 billion in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages.
An ABC spokesman said the network stands by its reporting, the Associated Press reported.
The “Day One” broadcasts, which aired on February 28 and March 7, examined the tobacco industry’s process for making cigarettes out of reconstituted tobacco, the Wall Street Journal reported. The industry grinds up scrap tobacco, extracts the nicotine and water, and then adds back the nicotine. the Journal reported.
Philip Morris claimed that the process yields less nicotine in the finished cigarette, the Journal reported.
The Philip Morris lawsuit comes as the Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether cigarettes should be regulated as a drug.
Testifying before a Congressional subcommittee in late March, FDA Commissioner David Kessler said the ability of the tobacco industry to lower the nicotine level may suggest that the companies intend that cigarettes contain an addictive level of nicotine, the Journal reported.
(Philip Morris Cos. v. Capital Cities/ABC Inc.)