Canada appeals court orders tobacco firms to pay billions in damages

Canada appeals court orders tobacco firms to pay billions in damages
    A Canadian court upheld the bulk of the decision that ordered the three tobacco companies to pay billions of dollars in compensation.

    The judgment includes collective claims merged against Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans Benson & Hedges, and Jet May-Macdonald.

    The companies had appealed the 2015 ruling in favor of ordering them to pay more than fifteen billion Canadian dollars (8.5 billion pounds, eleven billion dollars).

    Quebec prosecutors, who said the companies did not warn them about the health risks associated with smoking, were the plaintiffs.

    Rothmans and Benson & Hedges said on Friday he would ask permission to appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court.

    JTI-Macdonald business firm said it "fundamentally disagreed" with the decision and was considering all options, including appeal.

    Prosecutors said companies had been learning since the 1950s that their products were causing cancer and other diseases and failing to warn consumers.

    Companies have argued that Canadians have a "great awareness" of the health risks of smoking for more than half a century and say they are under strict control.

    The Quebec Court of Appeal on Friday ruled by a lower court ruling that companies did not provide sufficient information on the "safety flaw" in their tobacco products.

    This is the largest compensation award for damages in the country's history and will include interest on those damages.

    Collective action cases were filed twice in 1998 before being consolidated.
    Smoking rates have steadily declined in Canada over the years and in 2017 fewer than seventeen percent of Canadians smoked at least in some cases.

    In recent years, US courts have ordered tobacco companies to pay big prizes.

    However, these payments are reduced on appeal.

    Twenty eight billion dollars ($ 18.3 billion) against Philip Morris was reduced to twenty eight million dollars in appeal in 2011.

    US tobacco companies agreed in 1998 to pay the United States more than two hundred billion dollars (£ 131 billion) in fines in the largest civil lawsuit in US history. She criticized the United States for not spending enough compensation on anti-smoking programs.
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