In between March 1952 to May 1956, 13 billion Kent cigarettes were consumed by American smokers. This might not seem out of the ordinary, until it is revealed that those 13 billion cigarettes contained deadly asbestos fibers within their filters.
The Kent cigarette boasted the patented "Micronite" filter, which was introduced by Lorillard Tobacco Co. in response to the cigarette health scare of the 1950's. After the link between lung cancer and tobacco smoking became public knowledge, Lorillard introduced their "healthier" alternative to American smokers.
As a result, many individuals are at risk not only for lung cancer, but asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma, as well. And it is not only smokers at risk.
- Factory Workers: the workers who produced the Micronite filters and the Kent cigarettes are at high risk for developing mesothelioma today. Even though they have not been around the substance in years, the latency period between initial asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis can be anywhere from ten to seventy years.
- Smokers: Smokers who inhaled tobacco smoke through the Kent Micronite filters are some of the most obvious individuals at risk for a mesothelioma diagnosis in their lifetime. Lorillard claimed that their Kent cigarettes were safe to consume all those years ago, and today they continue to deny that the asbestos in the product did any harm to users.
As more former smokers and factory workers are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, many look for justice in the court room, only to realize how hard it is to fight against Big Tobacco.
Did you smoke Lorillard's Kent cigarettes and have since suffered from an asbestos-related illness? Share your story with us in a comment below.