Mark Gottlieb, executive director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at the Northeastern University School of Law, said such a finding could have a far-reaching effect on future lawsuits.

“This is huge,” Gottlieb said. “This really makes Massachusetts the most attractive state at this point and time to represent past victims of the tobacco industry — people with lung cancer and folks like Ms. Evans who were addicted for a long time and tried to quit and now find themselves sick and dying.”