A Tobacco Control Policy & Legal Resource Center
Supporting Smokefree Air & Tobacco-Free Lives


On November 27, 2012 Federal Judge Gladys Kessler ruled on a case filed by the U.S. Justice Department against the tobacco companies in 1999. The case was brought against the major U.S. cigarette manufacturers under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for creating an illegal “enterprise” to defraud the public about a wide range of health issues related to smoking and secondhand smoke. Read a November 27, 2012 Reuters news article about the ruling. Dr. Stan Glantz, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, authored an article published by UCSF that discusses the implications of Judge Kessler’s decision including how the tobacco industry might minimize the impact of the decision’s requirements.

There have been hundreds of lawsuits involving tobacco including:

  • employees, customers, prisoners, and tenants have sued employers, proprietors, prisons, landlords, and condo associations about secondhand smoke
  • parents in child custody suits and child welfare agencies have sought to protect children from secondhand smoke
  • individuals have brought actions for assault against smokers
  • employees and unions have challenged smokefree air policies
  • smokers and nonsmokers have claimed handicap discrimination
  • governments and health insurers have sued tobacco companies for reimbursement for medical care costs
  • smokers and nonsmoking flight attendants, individually and in class-actions, have sued tobacco companies for damages
  • citizen groups (aka tobacco-industry front groups) have sued governments that enacted tobacco-control legislation.

The Tobacco Control Resource Center at Northeastern University School of Law publishes Summary of Legal Cases Regarding Smoking in the Workplace and Other Places. It’s not available online (as this is written) but you can get their contact information from their website: www.tobacco.neu.edu.