Tobacco Firms Fined Billions For Damages By Canadian Courts
Canadian court recently upheld most part of the decision which ordered 3 tobacco firms for paying billions in caused damages. This judgment involved a class action suit that was consolidated against JTI- MacDonald, and two other tobacco giants. These companies had earlier appealed the 2015 ruling which had made them to cough up 11 billion dollars.
The plaintiffs appearing before the court were Quebec residents who said that the firms had failed to provide appropriate warnings of the health issues caused by smoking. The firms stated on Friday that they would appeal Canadian Supreme court. They also stated that they fundamentally disagree with these decisions and are all their options open and are also considering an appeal.
The plaintiffs mentioned that the companies were aware of the ill effects caused by their products including high risk of cancer since 1950s and still kept the consumers in dark regarding these issues. While the tobacco companies stated that the consumers had high awareness regarding health risk pertaining to smoking since 1960s and strict regulations are already in place. Quebec court agreed with the lower court’s decision which concluded that the companies failed in providing proper and adequate warnings about the health issues caused by their products.
Smoking rates can be seen at a steady decline in Canada and according to the 2017 study about 17% of Canadian people were occasional smokers. Similar cases can be seen in US where the courts ordered tobacco firms to pay huge sums, though theses payouts have often been reduced after appeal. In 2011 Phillip Morris was successful in reducing their fine from 28bn to 28mn dollars after an appeal. In the largest litigation suit of American history, tobacco firms had agree to pay the states a hefty amount of 200bn dollars, though the states has been regularly criticized for not using this amount for anti-smoking awareness programs.