BC has joined in with five other provinces in suing Canadian tobacco firms for healthcare costs!
The provinces are seeking recovery for the billions of dollars worth of healthcare costs associated with smoking illnesses. The provincial governments are hoping that by working with other provinces and coordinating legal resources it will bring their cases to trial faster. Every province in Canada as well as Nunavut has adopted legislation that seeks recovery of medicare costs against the tobacco industry, which is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars!
An astronomical amount of money is required for damage control of people’s health caused by tobacco use. The tobacco companies need to be held accountable for their actions and the affects of their highly effective advertising on the population. Earlier this year, Ontario filed a lawsuit against Canadian tobacco companies seeking $50 billion in damages. Additional lawsuits from the past few decades can be found in the article attached in the link below if you are interested!
The Canadian Cancer society states that tobacco products are responsible for about 30% of cancer deaths and for 85% of lung cancers! Lung cancer alone kills more than 20,000 Canadians a year – about 55 deaths per day. This is a huge cost in both lives and the amount of money needed to treat these cancers that could have otherwise been prevented.
This lawsuit from the BC government alleges that tobacco manufacturers have failed to warn consumers of the dangers of smoking and has targeted children in their advertising and marketing.
Targeted advertising on children ensures the creation of a new generation of smokers. Their addiction will finance and therefore benefit the tobacco companies by producing new teen aged consumers. Of course this creates further problems for the healthcare system perpetuating a never-ending cycle.
The lawsuit states that tobacco companies should be held liable for the tobacco-related illnesses that cost British Columbia an estimated $500 million a year in health costs! This money could be otherwise dedicated to so many worthwhile agencies.
As stated in the article from Castanet (link found below): Tobacco companies have responded previously to the lawsuit saying that the government is in danger of spending millions of dollars on lawsuits, but will not receive any money if the government wins. Canadian tobacco companies cannot afford to pay huge legal settlements, said the tobacco industry. The Canadian companies can’t endure settlements anywhere near the magnitude of their US counterparts who have been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars.
The BC lawsuit names Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges, JTI-Macdonald, the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers’ Council and several foreign tobacco companies.
Let’s hope the provincial governments win the lawsuit and get something back from these companies who are burdening our provinces with oppressive healthcare costs.
I will keep you posted on the proceedings and what the outcome is!
Also: Interested in lawsuits related to tobacco? This article goes through the timeline of events throughout the years in Canada.