Here is a scorecard on ups, downs and uncertainties for the tobacco companies:

Smokers' lawsuits: Total filed since 1954: 207 by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s count, 243 by American Tobacco Co.'s (ATCO). Cases dismissed by plaintiffs or courts, or otherwise disposed of, also 207 or 243. Cases tried since 1960: 11. Cases pending: 114 (down 26 from a year ago).

Potential impacts of litigation: The companies' long winning streak and huge diversification programs have led them and stock analysts generally to say that a few losses would be taken in stride.

Consider ATCO's owner, American Brands Inc. In 1986, after a $2.8 billion, 20-year diversification, products such as Sunshine cookies, Jim Beam Bourbon, Swingline staplers, and Jergens Lotion accounted for nearly 40 percent of net sales of $8.47 billion.

In 66 suits against ATCO, smokers who have specified damages seek at least $1.6 billion. American Brands doubts the litigation will have "a material adverse effect on {its} financial condition," but acknowledges that a single loss could trigger the filing of new suits, and that "a significant increase in such litigation could be material."

By raising prices a bit, says Calvert D. Crary, Bear, Stearns & Co.'s litigation analyst, the companies could survive losing "thousands" of cases and paying out "billions of dollars."

Possible irony: American Brands' Franklin Life Insurance Co. subsidiary gives discounts to nonsmokers, as do competitors whose directors also sit on tobacco companies' boards. How does Franklin reconcile the discounts with the industry position that smoking hasn't been shown to be unsafe? "It's something that we as {an} industry are doing," a spokesman said last week.

Judicial decisions: Three U.S. appeals courts have held that the federal warnings on cigarette packages since 1965 "preempt" smokers' complaints in lawsuits that manufacturers who had additional adverse health information after that date had to reveal it. Analyst Crary, a lawyer, calls the rulings "completely illogical" -- a coverup for the fear of many judges that the courts could drown in tobacco cases.

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to decide the preemption issue. It was raised in a 1985 Tennessee case in which Reynolds was sued by Floyd Roysdon, who claimed that a lifetime of smoking had led to circulatory disease and resultant amputation of his left leg. The judge halted the trial in its fifth day to rule that Roysdon should have known of the risks and had failed to show the cigarettes were "defective and unreasonably dangerous."

National legislation: In Ottawa, a government-sponsored bill to ban cigarette advertising and promotion is expected to become law in February (and eight Ontario dailies have voluntarily barred tobacco ads). In Washington, similar pending bills have dim prospects.

State legislation: Pressed by powerful lobbies, including tobacco's, California's legislature has passed a law protecting cigarette makers from product-liability lawsuits, and New Jersey's has passed a similar, less sweeping law.

Restrictions on smoking: These have been, and are, proliferating in public and work places; one example is a new U.S. law that, starting April 23, bars smoking on all scheduled flights of two hours or less, and a new Canadian law banning smoking on all flights.