In October 2013 Mother Jones magazine published an article with this attention getting headline, “Remember When Big Tobacco Sold Asbestos as the ‘Greatest Health Protection’?”.
From that news story by Myron Levin:
It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer—and then bragging about the health benefits. Yet that’s precisely what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented ‘Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.
Smokers puffed their way through 13 billion Kents between March 1952 and May 1956, when Lorillard changed the filter design. Six decades later, the legal fallout continues—just last month, a Florida jury awarded more than $3.5 million in damages to a former Kent smoker stricken with mesothelioma, an extremely rare and deadly asbestos-related cancer that typically shows up decades after the initial exposures.
A very important characteristic of asbestos-related cancers and diseases is the long delay, or latency period, between the asbestos exposure and the onset of disease. It is usually at least 15 years, and sometimes as long as 40 or 50 years, after the person’s first exposure to asbestos before an asbestos-related condition develops in the exposed person.
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