Remember When Big Tobacco Sold Asbestos as the “Greatest Health Protection”?

It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer—and then bragging about the health benefits. Yet that’s precisely what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented ‘Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.

Smokers puffed their way through 13 billion Kents between March 1952 and May 1956, when Lorillard changed the filter design. Six decades later, the legal fallout continues—just last month, a Florida jury awarded more than $3.5 million in damages to a former Kent smoker stricken with mesothelioma, an extremely rare and deadly asbestos-related cancer that typically shows up decades after the initial exposures.

Lorillard and Hollingsworth & Vose, the company that supplied the asbestos filter material, face numerous claims from mesothelioma sufferers, both factory workers who produced the cigarettes or filter material and former smokers who say they inhaled the microscopic fibers. (The companies insist that hardly any fibers escaped.) There’s been a burst of new lawsuits in the last few years, according to SEC filings, possibly because a mesothelioma patient these days is almost certain to be asked by his doctor or lawyer, “Did you happen to smoke Kents in the 1950s?”

While there’s no official count, records and interviews suggest that mesothelioma claims since the 1980s number in the low hundreds at least. Lorillard’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that it settled 90 cases during a recent period of just over two years, and that another 60 are still pending. Lorillard officials did not reply to emails and calls for this story, and H&V declined interview requests—company lawyer Andrew McElaney did, however, point out that the companies have won most of the cases that went to trial.

15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go?

Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines in what is still the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, it’s unclear how state governments are using much of that money.

So far tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement.

Among many state governments receiving money, Orange County, Calif., is an outlier. Voters mandated that 80 percent of money from tobacco companies be spent on smoking-related programs, like a cessation class taught in the basement of Anaheim Regional Medical Center.

“So go ahead and take a minute or two to write down reasons why you want to quit and we’ll talk about them in just a bit,” Luisa Santa says at the start of a recent session.

Every year since 1998, this program has been funded by money from the tobacco settlement. The five-part class is free for anyone living or working in Orange County. When they sign up, participants get a “quit kit” full of things like toothpicks and gum. And, if they come for at least three of the five sessions, they get a free two-week supply of nicotine patches.

Essure: Doctor files death report

Since 2004, almost 850 women and doctors have filed Adverse Event Reports with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about Essure birth control.

They detail extreme symptoms – from women experiencing excess bleeding, rashes and bloating to women who were forced to have their reproductive organs removed.

     *See Original Investigation

Now, the ABC15 Investigators found a new Adverse Event Report filed with the FDA just weeks ago regarding Essure. It details a woman’s death after she was admitted to the hospital for abdominal pain. She had the Essure coils implanted this year, but it has not been determined what caused her death.

‘THE LATEST AND GREATEST’

Amanda Holt saw a lot of positives when she decided to get Essure as a permanent form of birth control.

“I have three children. I work at lightning speed. And when someone told me that I can go in and get this procedure done and then go back to work that afternoon or the next morning, I’m like, ‘Absolutely! Sign me up!’” she said.

For Katie Reader, Essure sounded like a great idea. “I wanted the latest and greatest,” she said.

Thousands of Women Reporting Severe Medical Reactions To Essure Birth Control

Women are coming forward to talk about their experiences with a permanent form of birth control called Essure.

They’re describing it in stark terms: “It’s a constant pain that doesn’t go away,” one woman said. “It felt like barbed wire inside of me,” according to another. “It’s excruciating,” a third woman said.

Last year, after Becky Beesley of Gilbert decided she no longer wanted children, she chose to get Essure birth control.

“I had the Essure coils put in and immediately my body rejected the procedure,” she said. “My leg started to tremor and I threw up a couple of times.”

Within a few months, she started experiencing serious health issues. “I felt like there were little gremlins…that were just trying to claw their way out,” she said.

The pain got so bad, she said she couldn’t work; she had to quit her job as a teacher.

Eventually, her doctor

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