According to plaintiff attorney Adam Trop, of Paige, Trop & Ameen, Ellen Tate smoked Philip Morris cigarettes for 37 years, and her addiction to cigarettes caused the COPD (Emphysema). All of the cigarettes Tate smoked were filtered or had lower tar content, which Phillip Morris had suggested were safer.
Tope said that Tate had attempted to quit more than once, but, like the overwhelming majority of smokers who attempt to quit, Tate was unable to do so. As a result of her emphysema, Tate's lung capacity was very severely impaired (16-21% of what it should be), and was on oxygen 24 hours per day.
Defense attorney Lucy Mason, of Shook, Hardy, Bacon, conceded that Tate was addicted to cigarettes, but noted that addicted smokers can and do quit every day. According to Mason, Tate's doctor advised her to quit smoking repeatedly, in response to which she did nothing -- she did not even use the nicotine patch that her doctor prescribed.
"Motivation is key," said Mason. Tate's addiction did not prevent her from quitting, and when she really wanted to quit, in 1997, a year after her emphysema was diagnosed, Tate was able to.