ABC NEWS COM POLL TOBACCO LIABILITY EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AFTER by bluffdaddy

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									ABC NEWS.COM POLL: TOBACCO LIABILITY – 10/31/99
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AFTER 12 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1999


                            Six in 10 Reject
                           Tobacco Liability
While tobacco companies fend off a barrage of lawsuits claiming damages for smoking-
related illnesses, they're getting a break in at least one venue: The court of public opinion.

Americans by almost 2-1 say the tobacco companies should not be held financially
responsible for illnesses caused by smoking. Sixty percent don’t think the companies
should have to pay damages for smoking-related illnesses; 34 percent say they should.

That finding comports with another ABC News poll, two years ago, in which 72 percent
felt that responsibility for health problems rested with smokers, for smoking, rather than
with the tobacco companies, for making and marketing the smokes.

Given courtroom evidence, some jurors have seen it differently. A Florida jury currently
is deliberating the amount of punitive damages tobacco companies owe Florida smokers
with smoking-related illnesses. Speculation has run as high as $300 billion.

GROUPS – The current poll includes some differences among population groups;
support for holding tobacco companies liable for damages is higher among Democrats,
younger adults, those with lower incomes and those living in the West. Even so, support
does not reach a majority in any population group.

METHODOLOGY - This ABC News.com survey was conducted by telephone Oct. 27-
31, 1999, among a random national sample of 1,010 adults. The results have a three-point
error margin. Fieldwork by ICR-International Communications Research of Media, Pa.
Analysis by Daniel Merkle.
ABC News polls can be found at ABCNEWS.com on the Internet at:
http://www.abcnews.com/sections/us/PollVault/PollVault.html
18. In your opinion, should the tobacco companies have to pay money
damages to people who develop smoking-related illnesses, or not?

                   Yes        No       Depends (vol.)       No opin.
10/31/99           34         60            3                  3

								
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