Smoker Dies Before Verdict
OSLO, Norway (AP) - The first Norwegian smoker to sue the tobacco industry for compensation died as a result of cancer this weekend before learning the verdict in his case.
``No matter what happens, I have won, because the message has been made clear: Tobacco kills,'' Lund was quoted as telling newspapers about two weeks before his death.
Lund, who smoked until his death, was terminally ill with lung cancer that had spread to his brain when he sued Norway's largest tobacco concern, Tiedemanns Tobakksfabrikk AS. He claimed its tobacco products damaged his health and that it has an obligation to compensate him.
The tobacco company argued he should have been aware of the risks of smoking.
Lund's attorney, Edmund Asboell, said that Lund's death should not affect the ruling, because court hearings had been completed on Oct. 17.
``If Lund wins and Tiedemanns appeals, then his family automatically becomes the counterpart,'' Asboell said. ``If he loses, then it is up to his family to decide whether to pursue an appeal.''
Under Norwegian law, the ruling expected this week would only determine whether the tobacco industry could held liable. A second court case would then determine the size of any possible compensation.
The case was the latest in a series of European suits seeking compensation for ailing smokers. If Lund wins the case, hundreds of similar suits are expected to follow.
Lund started smoking in 1954, when Norway still allowed tobacco advertising and tobacco products did not have health warnings about the dangers of smoking. Norway did not require the warnings until 1975.
During the hearings, attorneys for Tiedemanns said the health risks of smoking were known when he started in the 1950s, so he could not claim ignorance of the danger.
About 32 percent of Norwegian adults smoke daily.