Smoker Blames Tobacco Ads at Trial
MIAMI. A cancer victim suing the nation's tobacco companies testified Thursday that ads featuring celebrities like Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams strongly influenced him to begin smoking in the 1950s.
Frank Amodeo, 60, a clockmaker who survived throat cancer, said he still remembers ads featuring doctors, athletes and entertainers proclaiming that smoking was a healthy, enjoyable pastime.
One showed baseball stars Mantle, Williams and Whitey Ford endorsing cigarettes.
"These guys were above-average athletes," Amodeo said. "They smoked, so how could it be bad?"
Amodeo and Mary Farnan, 44, a nurse with lung cancer, are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit representing about 500,000 ill Florida smokers.
The jury ruled in July that cigarettes are a deadly product and that tobacco companies had engaged in "extreme and outrageous conduct" in selling and marketing. The jury must now decide if smoking and the companies' actions led to Mrs. Farnan and Amodeo's cancer.
If the jury finds that was the case, it could award them damages for their medical expenses, lost wages and suffering.
The jury could then award punitive damages to all of the ill Florida smokers an award that tobacco attorneys fear could reach an industry-crippling $300 billion.