06.01.2015 09:44 PM

My Dad, who died 11 years ago years ago this month

…would have been happy about this day. When he was dying, in fact. He told us to “sue those tobacco companies.”

And someone did. 

In a ruling described as “historic” by one lawyer, a Quebec judge has ordered three major cigarette companies to pay $15 billion to smokers in what is believed to be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada. “These three companies lied to their customers for 50 years and hurt their right to life,” Andre Lesperance, one of the lawyers involved in the case, said Monday. “It’s a great victory for victims as well as for society in general.”

8 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    As someone who quit using tobacco 32 years ago I remain NOT a fan of class action law suits against big tobacco. Although they provided me with the stuff of my addiction I was the idiot that chose to use it. Yes I started when I was a teen and even then I knew it was bad for me but I chose to use it anyways.

    • Warren says:

      Fine. But in the early years of your use – and for many years- Big Tobacco maliciously suppressed information about the harm tobacco caused. They did that so you would keep smoking.

  2. doconnor says:

    $15 billion isn’t enough. I understand they knew for years before other scientist confirmed the smoking causes cancer. They should make it is criminal offense to suppress vital health information.

    • Joe says:

      Actually smoking increases your risk of developing cancer not ’causes cancer’. Cancer survivor here not smoking related. Regardless of how bad we make out ‘Big Tobacco’ to be we also have to look at the users and apportion them some of the blame. Its been known since the 50s that smoking was not good for you despite what some doctors told us and here in Alberta we had an anti-smoking zealot that would show all the kids in school her cancer ravaged body then stand outside the school door and light up a cigarette.

  3. Devil's Advocate says:

    Since the government makes a lot more money from tobacco in the form of taxes than the tobacco companies themselves, shouldn’t they be accountable too? With all of the consensus regarding how bad tobacco is bad for you, one can only logically conclude that the tobacco industry is a private-public partnership rife with nepotism that provides tax stamp authority to those big players who pay to play.

    I say ban smoking outright right now (with none of these halfway measures) and let the chips fall where they may.

    I also find it ironic that the political left is most vocal about banning smoking (usually, but not always) but they also want to legalize pot. And don’t a lot of rock stars smoke cigarettes too? A quick search of Google Images provides this:

    http://www.johnlydon.com/images1/conf/ciglight_7.jpg

    There is a lot of hypocrisy on this issue to go around.

    • doconnor says:

      I’m not aware of many on the left calling for a ban on smoking. You should be careful not to assume that the same people are calling for a smoking ban and support marijuana legalization.

      However, marijuana is less dangerous because it is less addictive and people who do use it use a lot less then people who smoke tobacco.

      • Devil's Advocate says:

        It was a generalization, and I’m sure there are those on the right who attack smoking as well. But I was thinking of Bill Clinton’s political attacks against Bob Dole in 1996 for taking tobacco money. I suppose if tobacco growing areas voted Democrat, it might be the other way around.

        And there is a lot of overlap between tobacco users and marijuana users.

        And is marijuana really less dangerous? Scientific studies have shown that it causes brain damage among young people. But if they do legalize it (I’m sort of neutral about it), the well connected tobacco companies and their sycophantic allies in government will collude to make sure they are the only ones with the authority to manufacture and distribute it. The potheads who cheer for it’s legalization will find the new regime more oppressive than it is now.

  4. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Only in a courtroom can the endless mega bucks fountain buy true legal happiness. But not necessarily at first instance…

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