Cigarette Makers Fined Billions – A Canadian court has ordered three tobacco companies to pay 15.5 billion Canadian dollars – the largest award for damages in the country’s history.
The plaintiffs were Quebec smokers who said the firms failed to warn them of health risks associated with smoking.
Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald vowed to appeal against the decision. The class-action lawsuits were filed in 1998, but only recently went to trial.
The firms argued that Canadians have had a “high awareness” of smoking health risks since the 1950s. But the plaintiffs argued that the companies did not sufficiently warn consumers, and failed in their duty to “not to cause injury to another person.”
Judge Brian Riordan explained his decision to fine the companies, saying that the tobacco companies made their millions at the expense of the health of their customers.