Lawsuit Cites Cigarette Giveaways to Black Youth

November 12, 2010  |  

(AP) – Marie Evans recalled she was 9 years old when she first started getting free cigarettes in the Boston housing project where she lived.  At first, she traded them for candy, but she said she started smoking them herself at age 13. Four decades later, Evans died of lung cancer.  Now, an unusual lawsuit is set to go to trial in Suffolk Superior Court, accusing the maker of those cigarettes — Lorillard Tobacco Co. — of deliberately trying to entice black children to become smokers by handing out free samples in urban neighborhoods.  Opening statements are scheduled Friday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Evans’ son against Lorillard, the nation’s third-largest tobacco company. Willie Evans alleges that the firm used an illegal marketing strategy to get his mother to begin smoking Newport cigarettes, which led to a lifelong addiction.

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