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After two arguments before the Supreme Court, Cipollone's family, unable to afford the cost of continued litigation, dropped the suit.Now, however, tobacco companies face a different legal environment.Cigarette sales surged again with the introduction of the "White Burley" tobacco leaf and the invention of the first practical cigarette-making machine, sponsored by tobacco baron James Buchanan "Buck" Duke, in the late 1880s.
Tobacco was introduced to France in 1556, Portugal in 1558, and Spain in 1559, and England in 1565.The first successful commercial crop was cultivated in Virginia in 1612 by Englishman John Rolfe.Within seven years, it was the colony's largest export.In 1994, Mississippi filed the first of 22 state lawsuits seeking to recoup millions of dollars from tobacco companies for smokers' Medicaid bills.And in 1995, President Clinton announced FDA plans to regulate tobacco, especially sales and advertising aimed at minors. So why has it taken so long for the tobacco industry to be forced to settle lawsuits over the dangers of cigarettes? Tobacco companies, with deep pockets for legal maneuvering, easily beat back early suits, including the first one, filed in 1954.
The tobacco industry has been on the run -- albeit profitably -- ever since.