Jury Clobbers Marlboro Man

Patricia Henley is being hailed as a giant killer. Her $51 million victory over cigarette maker Philip Morris is the biggest courtroom loss ever for the tobacco industry, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

Henley, who started smoking at 15, has inoperable lung cancer. "Smoking kills," she says.

When asked if she bore some responsibility for contracting cancer, she replied: "I'm going to die - isn't that enough responsibility?"

Henley started smoking Marlboros 37 years ago. Back then, cigarettes came with no warning label. Smokers may not have known the risks that long ago, but the tobacco companies did according to Stan Glantz, who made public thousands of internal industry documents.

"Juries are now beginning to realize that cigarette companies aren't just another business - they're a bunch of people who kill people for a living," Glantz said.

But Philip Morris calls the $50 million jury award absurd. The company says Patricia Henley knew the risks but kept smoking anyway.

"People who make informed choices are responsible for those choices," said William Ohlemeyer, a Philip Morris attorney.

Only three other smokers have won verdicts against the tobacco industry and all those have been overturned on appeal. Philip Morris says it will appeal this verdict, but critics believe the appeals will become harder to win.

"I think you're beginning to see the unraveling of this whole 50 years long conspiracy by the tobacco industry," Glantz said.

Many believe the San Francisco jury was far more generous than juries elsewhere in the country are likely to be. But the $50 million award is likely to capture the attention of both attorneys and smokers who are now sick.

Whether or not this verdict stands on appeal it is expected to bring a flood of new cases against the tobacco industry.