[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 28, 1986

Tobacco Product Liability

JAMA. 1986;255(8):1034-1037. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370080056026

RESOLUTION 126, requesting that the American Medical Association (AMA) study the issue of product liability and personal injury as it relates to tobacco use, and Resolution 140, requesting the AMA to study tobacco product liability/personal injury law and the role of the medical community in such suits, were referred to the Board of Trustees for a report at the 1985 Interim Meeting. The results of the Board's study are set forth in this report.

I. BACKGROUND  In the past, tobacco companies have been held civilly liable when their product contained foreign objects such as human toes, mice, small snakes, nails, fishhooks, firecrackers, steel particles, and worms.1 However, no tobacco company has ever been held responsible for a death, disability, or disease caused by smoking.2 During the late 1950s and the 1960s, ten lawsuits against cigarette companies were filed on behalf of smokers with lung cancer.3 Four of