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Canada: Tobacco class suit seeks billions for smokers

Date: 13 Mar 2012

Stubbed out cigarettes

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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