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It is 54 years since the US surgeon general estimated the average smoker was almost 10 times as likely to die of lung cancer as a non-smoker, and 18 years since a class-action lawsuit resulted in a record — albeit subsequently overturned — $145bn damages award against Big Tobacco.

The past few days, in some industry watchers’ eyes, have been just important a moment in the fight against smoking. “I think it’s as big of a milestone, and builds off those earlier milestones,” said Joelle Lester, [...]