Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on May 15, 2013 @ 7:33PM
Created on May 15, 2013 @ 5:47PM
It's West Virginia versus big tobacco. Over 500 of you are going head to head against five major tobacco companies.
We spoke with health officials and you to get to the bottom of this very controversial case.
The trial began three weeks ago, but the battle has been 13 years in the making.
Here's the basis of the case, smokers claim they were harmed by using tobacco products that they believe were dangerous. They also claim that the companies never warned them about the risk. They were supposedly led to believe that filtered cigarettes were less harmful than non-filtered ones. Big tobacco fought back by saying faulty filters don't compromise the health of smokers, but rather the tobacco itself, which is a natural product. The jury will decide if the cigarettes are defective, and if smokers were properly instructed and warned. Health officials we spoke to said there's no such thing as a safe cigarette.
Marjory Moses, Director of Community Wellness at Davis Memorial Hospital, said, "To say that a cigarette could have been safer, that less nicotine makes it safer, or that a filter could make it safer, is just saying it could be different. It can't ultimately be a safe product."
Jackson County resident Teresa Moses said, "There is not a smoker alive who could tell you that what they're doing, the habit of smoking, is not harmful to their health. Someone suing the tobacco company for having lung cancer or other health-related issues is about as silly as someone suing McDonald's for being overweight."
If the jury rules in favor of these 500 smokers, another jury will decide how much money they get.
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