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Three Tobacco Cos. Ordered To Pay $11B to Smokers

Three Tobacco Cos. Ordered To Pay $11B to Smokers

In a landmark judgment on March 1, the Quebec appeals court ordered three tobacco companies to pay more than $11 billion to Canadian smokers who claimed in two class action lawsuits that they were never informed about the risks of smoking.  This judgment upholds a lower court's 2015 ruling that subsidiaries of Philip Morris International Inc., Japan Tobacco Inc., and British American Tobacco PLC are liable for CA$15.6 billion ($11.27 billion) with interest to Quebecois smokers and former smokers who develop

Introduction

In a landmark judgment on March 1, the Quebec appeals court ordered three tobacco companies to pay more than $11 billion to Canadian smokers who claimed in two class action lawsuits that they were never informed about the risks of smoking.

This judgment upholds a lower court's 2015 ruling that subsidiaries of Philip Morris International Inc., Japan Tobacco Inc., and British American Tobacco PLC are liable for CA$15.6 billion ($11.27 billion) with interest to Quebecois smokers and former smokers who developed smoking-related disease or addiction. The subsidiary companies, Imperial Tobacco, JTI-Macdonald and Rothmans, and Benson & Hedges had appealed the lower court's ruling that found them choosing personal profits over customers' health.

A lawyer representing the smokers who filed the class action called the verdict as a complete victory for the victims. The appeals court concluded that the tobacco companies handled not disclosing adequate information about their cigarettes since the 1950s and promoted a campaign of disinformation by revolting to the warnings others made about cigarette smoking. The non-profit Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health indicated the total amount to be paid would be nearly $17 million in Canadian dollars ($12.24 billion USD), including interest added since 2015.

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