People here do forget the courts also must protect the companies being sued a court cannot unfairly and unjustly destroy a public company with an award. This award would have forced companies into bankrupcy protection in some cases and then they would not see any money if they survived.
Actually a court award can force a company into bankruptcy or out of business. The court through its award of damages is under no obligation to look out for the best interests of the guilty party, if that were the case, punitive damages would never be awarded.Besides being driven into bankrputcy or out of business entirely happens all the time to smaller businesses who get sued.
And one of the reasons for the award in the first place was admissions by the companies own internal memoranda that they covered up for years information on how harmful cigarettes were, as well as actively targetd minors. Whether you agree or disagree that minors are incapable of making intelligent decisions or not, the law in the united states is that until 18 minors are in the custody of a parent or guardian. They are considered legally incapable of making certain decisions (hence the laws preventing minors from smoking, from drinking alcohol, driving until a certain age, wathcing porn, entering contracts, etc etc). Those were factors in the awarding of the punitive damages. And personally I feel the damages were not excessive at all.
Oh and as far as appealin to the SCOTUS, not a problem. The federal courts can take appeals from state courts, especially when said case deals with federal issues. Considering this case involves tobacco companies, most based in states outside of florida, selling cigarettes inside florida you are dealing with interstate commerce. The federal government has absolute authority granted by the constitution (specifically to congress btw) to regulate interstate commerce. :)