Corporations That Kill: The Criminal Liability of Tobacco Manufacturers (2002)

Authors: Jonathan Liberman and Jonathan Clough


In April 2002 British American Tobacco Australia became the first tobacco company in Australia to be ordered to pay compensation to a person dying of smoking-related illness. In the United States such civil claims have resulted in tobacco companies being ordered to pay massive remedial and punitive damages. While many now accept that tobacco companies may be civilly liable, little attention has been given to their potential criminal liability. This article challenges the false assumptions surrounding the “legality” of the tobacco industry and outlines the case for criminal responsibility. It then concludes with suggestions for reform of the tobacco industry.