Saudi court set to hear tobacco compensation case..

October 21, 2008 - A Saudi court will begin hearing a lawsuit on Tuesday, 10/21/2008 filed by the Ministry of Health against agents of international tobacco companies in the kingdom. Health chiefs will demand compensation of $2.6 billion and an annual compensation of $133 million for the expenditures incurred on the treatment of smokers when the General Court in Riyadh opens.

Health Minister Hamad Al-Manie said he was confident that his ministry would win the lawsuit since it provided statistics and medical data that showed how smoking destroys people’s health and eats away at social spending connected with smoking-related medical treatment of citizens. “We’ll go ahead with the lawsuit unless the tobacco companies paid the full amount of compensation ... I will not and neither will the ministry forsake the rights of patients,” he said.

Arabian Gulf states in general and Saudi Arabia in particular are some of the biggest tobacco importing and consumer countries in the world. Saudi Arabia tops the list of tobacco importers, according to 2007 statistics. Iran is placed second, followed by Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt.

Smoking leads to self-destruction, against which Islam has strongly warned. It incurs a waste of money and Islam forbids excessive expenditure. It irritates the throat and it fouls the breath, in addition to its other health hazards. (The late Dr Al-Hussaini Abdulmajid Hashem Former Deputy Rector of Al-Azhar- Islamic Ruling on Smoking...

Related news brief: Saudis to sue tobacco firms for more than $2.7 billion Ryadh, Saudi Arabia.

Reference: Saudi Arabia sues cigarette agents by P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News, 10/21/2008 and Saudi court set to hear tobacco compensation case
by Andy Sambidge,, 10/21/2008.