MIAMI (AP) - The nation's no. 2 cigarette maker vows to fight a Florida jury verdict of $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Executive J. Jeffery Raborn says the damages awarded Friday evening to widow Cynthia Robinson by a Pensacola jury are “grossly excessive” and Reynolds will appeal.

Robinson attorney Christopher Chestnut says the award sends a powerful message to tobacco companies that they “cannot continue to lie ... about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes.”

The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a $145-billion class action verdict. Robinson individually sued Reynolds in 2008. Her husband died in 1996.

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