Tobacco litigation began with a personal injury lawsuit in the USA in 1954. For more than 40 years, the tobacco industry boasted it had not lost a single case, but this has changed. One case in Minnesota that began in 1994 ruled that millions of pages of internal tobacco industry documents be put into the public domain. These showed that the industry has concealed information on the true harmfulness of smoking and misled governments, the media and their clients - smokers.
Litigation has put the industry on the political defensive, forced tobacco companies to the bargaining table, and has resulted in some large settlements, with the industry paying US states billions of dollars a year.