MANHATTAN (CN) - The "micronite filter" Kent cigarettes touted as "health protection" in the 1950's contained asbestos, a former smoker suffering from malignant mesothelioma claims in court.
Myrna Korsh sued Lorillard, and Hollingsworth and Vose Co., in Federal Court.
Korsh claims the tobacco companies knew that Kent cigarettes sold between 1952 and 1957 contained asbestos in the filters, and hid that information from consumers.
"The type of asbestos included in Kent cigarettes was crocidolite (blue) asbestos which is generally accepted as the most potent form of asbestos in causing mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused only by asbestos exposure," the complaint states.
It continues: "Asbestos was intentionally included as an ingredient of the asbestos-containing filter material for Kent cigarettes by defendant H&V at the request of defendant Lorillard."
Korsh claims the companies not only put asbestos in the cigarettes intentionally, but boasted about the alleged health benefits of the filter.
The lawsuit states: "During the time Kent cigarettes included an asbestos-containing Micronite filter, representations by Lorillard included but were not limited to the following statements which were placed either in print, radio or television advertising:
"(a) 'Kent offers you the greatest health protection in cigarette history';
"(b) Kent gives you 'a really good smoke and real health protection';
"(c) 'Kent alone has the pure, safe, dust-free Micronite filter ...';
"(d) Micronite is 'a pure, dust-free, completely harmless material that is so safe, so effective, it actually is used to help filter the air in hospital operating rooms';
"(e) The 'Micronite filter ... offers you far greater health protection than ordinary filters.'"
Korsh claims she believed it, that she "purchased and smoked Kent cigarettes because she believed the filter had health benefits and that it was the best cigarette available because of its purported health benefits."
She seeks $18 million in damages for fraud, negligence, product liability and breach of warranty.
She is represented by Jerome Block with Levy Konigsberg.