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Big Tobacco gets hit big

Ontario has become the latest jurisdiction to take aim at Big Tobacco’swallet, launching a lawsuit to recover smoking-related health costsfrom a beleaguered industry that denounced the action as hypocritical.

Ontario has become the latest jurisdiction to take aim at Big Tobacco’s wallet, launching a lawsuit to recover smoking-related health costs from a beleaguered industry that denounced the action as hypocritical.

The suit, which seeks a jaw-dropping $50 billion from a dozen Canadian firms and their parent companies, follows enabling legislation the province passed earlier this year to the delight of anti-smoking groups.

“That is our view of the costs of health-care related illnesses directly tied to tobacco from 1955 until now,” Attorney General Chris Bentley said of damages claim.

“We believe that taxpayers should be compensated for the costs that they have paid.”

The claim follows similar actions in British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Among those named in the suit is Canada’s largest tobacco manufacturer, Imperial Tobacco Co., a wholly owned unit of British American Tobacco of London that sells cigarettes under brands such as du Maurier.

 
 
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