Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 4

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10 tobaccoasia © 2014 October Multimedia Inc. TOBACCO ASIA is a quinterly publication by October Multimedia Co., Ltd. Production and distribution of TOBACCO ASIA is overseen by October Inter Co., Ltd., Vanit Bldg. 2, Room 1403A, 1126/2 New Petchburi Rd., Bangkok 10400 THAILAND. Tel +66 22 55 66 25, Fax +66 26 55 22 11. E-mail: web: From the Publisher EDITORIAL MASTHEAD Publisher Glenn Anthony John Associate Editor Andrey Medvedev Features Writers Nattira Medvedeva Mike Phillips Thomas Schmid Correspondents Jonathan Bell Chris Bickers Allen Liao Zhao Rongguo Art Director Somjet Thitasomboon Translations Tran Tan Kiet Liao Tian Liang Administration Office Manager Sayaporn Wattanaking Editorial/Circulation Offices Tobacco Asia c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Vanit Building 2, Room 1403A 1126/2 New Petchburi Rd. Bangkok 10400 THAILAND Tel (Thailand) +66 2255 6625 Fax (Thailand) +66 2655 2211 What are the chances of winning $23 billion? What would you do for the possibility of a US$23 billion payout, either for yourself or your family? What are the odds of winning such an amount? For example, with the New York State lottery, your chances of winning 1% of that amount are 1 in 45 million, and 2-3 times a week millions and millions take the chance. First of all, how much is $23 billion? - $23 billion is the total annual combined sales of Burger King and Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee shop chain, who recently agreed to merge; - $23 billion is Microsoft's revenues for Q4, 2014; - $23 billion is how much was paid to acquire the Heinz brand recently; - $23 billion is Forbes magazine's estimate of financier George Soros' net worth; - $23 billion was just approved by Thailand's military to construct express rail lines throughout the country; - $23 billion is how much Qatar announced in contracts to buy attack helicopters, guided missiles, tankers, and other military equipment; - $23 billion is the GDP of Slovakia; - $23 billion is a bit less than what RJ Reynolds paid to acquire Lorillard. $23 billion is also how much was awarded to a Florida widow whose chain-smoking husband died of lung cancer at age 36 in 1996 from RJ Reynolds who they say conspired to conceal from him the dangers of smoking. $23 billion is 16% of the total $145 billion that was initially awarded in a class-action smoking suit in Florida in 2000, which was the largest such judgment in US history. That award, however, was rejected in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court, which decertified the class. It was decided that the class action group was too disparate and that each consumer had smoked for different reasons. But the court said the plaintiffs could file lawsuits individually, and this widow was one of them. Could such a possibility of untold riches encourage smoking? With payouts of 100 times a normal lottery to a much smaller audience of those made ill supposedly directly and solely by smoking, the odds look good. How many would foolishly take up smoking, increase smoking, or continue smoking on the "chance" that "if" they contract cancer, their family may be awarded ludicrous amounts of money that will provide a living for generations and generations to come? Calling the massive award "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law," RJ Reynolds then-c.e.o. Jeffery Raborn, said the verdict was "beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented." So, of course this will be appealed, and it is assumed the widow will not get anything near this amount… in the end… or will she? One calculus said she could still get upwards of $150 million, still many times a typical US lottery payout. Glenn Anthony John Publisher/Editor

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