Tobacco Company Knew Dangers 30 Years Ago
In regards to the "tobacco lawsuit" that has been underway for five years, the plaintiffs insisted Monday that KT&G (the former Korea Tobacco and Ginseng Corporation) has known that smoke from cigarettes causes lung cancer and might lead to other diseases
The plaintiffs' lawyer, Bae Keum-ja, and the Korean Association of Smoking and Health held a press conference Monday and said, "We've examined 464 documents, including KT&G's internal investigation reports, and found that KT&G has known of nicotine's danger, addictiveness and the relationship between smoking and lung cancer since the 1960s. Moreover, it has known since the 1990s that passive smoking may lead to lung cancer as well."
The documents that the plaintiffs opened to the public along with its investigation results were internal references that KT&G handed to the court in May. These documents were handed to the court for the first time when six victims of lung cancer sued KT&G in 1999 and requested that it reveal in 2000 whether or not it knew the side effects of smoking. The victims claimed they suffered from the lung cancer because of smoking.
KT&G's predecessor completed a research report in 1969, and it contained such things as the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)'s report that demonstrated that arsenic contained in cigarette smoke was the main culprit for lung cancer, and that arsenic was contained in Korean cigarettes as well.
In addition, later research reports included research results about cancerous materials in cigarettes like nicotine and the dangers of second-hand smoke. The plaintiffs insisted that the executives of KT&G obviously knew of these reports.
Three out of the six plaintiffs have already died from lung cancer and other diseases, and the bench plans to restart proceedings once results from a Seoul National University Hospital report on the connection between smoking and lung cancer comes out, taking into account both those results and the finding submitted to the court today by the plaintiffs.