A United States cigarette company, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was on Friday ordered to pay US$23.6 billion to the widow of a man who died of lung cancer. A state jury in Florida awarded the punitive damages to the estate of Michael Johnson Sr, who died in 1996 from lung cancer after years of chain smoking. “This jury sent a message and gave 23.6 billion reasons why you can’t lie to consumers,” attorney Christopher Chestnut said. Jeffery Raborn, vice president and assistant general counsel for R.J. Reynolds, said the verdict of US$23.6 billion was “far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness” and his company intends to appeal against the decision and the verdict. Zimbabwe is one of the largest tobacco producers in the world and this year’s crop exceeded 200 million kgs.