Canada: Tobacco class suit seeks billions for smokers
Date: 13 Mar 2012
A class action lawsuit that argues that three of the major tobacco firms manipulated nicotine levels and hid evidence on the health effects of smoking is coming to trial after 15 years. The suit, which seeks up to C$27bn in damages, is the first of its kind in Canada.
Imperial Tobacco, JTI-Macdonald and Rothmans Benson and Hedges are the target of the suit, which is similar to the major action in the US that led to the industry paying out nearly $250bn over 25 years.
The damages reflects C$10,000 for each of the 1.8m Quebec residents who report that they are unable to quit smoking. A separate action is made up of people that have fallen ill with emphysema and cancer.
Imperial Tobacco, in a statement, labelled the suits as an "opportunistic cash grab."
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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