World News
Canada court orders tobacco firms to pay $12bn

A Canadian court has ordered tobacco firms to pay $12.4bn to smokers in Quebec who claimed they were never warned about health risks linked to smoking.

Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan said in his decision released late on Monday that by choosing not to inform health authorities or the public directly of what they knew, the companies chose profits over the health of their customers.

The case is believed to be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada. JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges said they will appeal.

The judgement calls on the companies to issue initial compensation of more than $800m in the next 60 days, regardless of whether they elect to appeal. The judge will decide at a later date how to distribute those funds.

The Quebec case marked the first time tobacco companies had gone to trial in a civil lawsuit in Canada and involved two separate groups of plaintiffs: some of whom became seriously ill from smoking and others who said they couldn’t quit.


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