Quebec - intends to sue cigarette makers to recoup health costs..

October 6, 2009 - MONTREAL — Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc says the province intends to sue cigarette manufacturers to recoup health costs related to smoking. The basis of the suit is that cigarette makers did not adequately warn people about the effects that smoking would have on their health.

Bolduc says the cigarette companies had an ample number of studies attesting to the dangers of smoking. Smoking costs the health system hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

The minister did not put a dollar figure on the suit, although he said the amount would be in the billions. The case is now being studied by the justice minister and there is no indication when it would be filed with a court.

The government passed a law in June allowing such a lawsuit, following similar efforts in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Quebec would become the fourth of Canada’s 10 provinces to sue the country’s tobacco manufacturers, which are units of foreign tobacco makers, including Philip Morris International Inc, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco Inc.

References: Quebec health minister says province to sue cigarette makers for health costs, The Canadian Press, 10/5/2009; Quebec plans suit vs. tobacco companies, Reuters, 9/30/2009.