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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta will file a lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers seeking C$10 billion ($9.7 billion) to recover healthcare costs from smoking-related illnesses, the province's government said on Wednesday.
The government said in a statement it has retained Tobacco Recovery Partners LLP, a consortium of law firms, to file the suit on its behalf but did not specify when the filing will be made.
Alberta will be the fifth Canadian province to file suit against the tobacco industry. It said in a release that it expects the remaining five provinces to soon litigate against tobacco manufacturers as well in order to recover publicly funded healthcare costs.
"The costs are not just to our health care system, but in the many lives cut short by the use of tobacco," Alberta Premier Alison Redford said in a statement. "This legal action is a significant part of renewing our tobacco reduction strategy."
The province did not say which companies it expected to name in its suit. Other provinces have named R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, Japan Tobacco's JTI-Macdonald unit, Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc, which is partly owned by Philip Morris International Inc, and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd, a unit of British American Tobacco, as well as others, in their actions.
Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by M.D. Golan