Published: Saturday 15 March 1997

In a desperate bid to stop mushrooming legal claims against the industry, the British tobacco firm, BAT Industries PLC, is considering settling compensation claims brought by Americans who are suffering from smoking-related illnesses. The company's shares fell sharply after a jury in Florida ordered its US tobacco unit to pay US $750,000 to a former smoker who had contracted cancer. The company faces 300 other US claims. "They want a big payoff, and we want a peaceful life," says Martin Broughton, chief executive officer of BAT.

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