It's the habit the FDA warns against. Today, the warnings are visible, but some fifty years ago the dangers of cancer were not as obvious. And it's battle thousands of Floridians are suing over.
"These 8 thousand plaintiffs. The majority are all people now in their 70's and 80's who smoked way before the warning labels went on. Way before the caution labels went on, later they were warning labels," says attorney Rick Diaz.
Emmon Smith was one of these plaintiffs, filing suit against the R. J. Reynolds Company for causing his cancer.
"He has suffered so dramatically," explains J. B. Harris, one of Smith's attorneys. "He had cancer which caused him to have one lung removed...and he was left with a right lung that was damaged with 40 years of smoking."
Smith, a former reverend has lived in Cottondale for most of his life. He picked up the habit when he was 13, and finally kicked it in 1992 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Lawyers say it was over 20 years after Smith had been smoking that the first caution labels went up.
"We brought some of the best experts in the county to show the deceit that they placed in the American people," says Diaz. "How they concealed what they knew about the addictive nature and the dangerousness of their product."
Following the two part ruling, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Jackson County Jury ruled in favor of Smith, who will receive nearly 30 million dollars in damages.
News 13 tried to get in touch with the tobacco company. They emailed a statement saying, "We are disappointed with the verdict and plan to appeal"- R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.