The Surgeon General has stated that cigarette smoking is the "chief, single, avoidable cause of death in our society and the most important public health issue of our time." Over 200,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of cigarette smoking. Consequently, numerous products liability suits have been filed against tobacco companies. However, until the 1988 decision in CipoIlone v. Liggett Group, Inc., no plaintiff had won a products liability suit against a tobacco company.

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