R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company may have to pay $23.6 billion dollars to the widow of a 36 year old smoker. A jury in Florida awarded the sum as punitive damages. Those are the damages meant to stop or deter the wrongdoer and others from engaging in similar behavior.
Lawyers claimed that smoking killed Michael Johnson and R.J. Reynolds was negligent in not informing him that nicotine is addictive and smoking can cause lung cancer. Johnson started smoking when he was 13 and died of lung cancer.