Quebec sues tobacco industry for C$60 billion

Fri Jun 8, 2012 4:50pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Quebec government launched a C$60 billion ($59 billion) lawsuit against Big Tobacco on Friday to recover health care costs, the largest in a string of claims against the industry made by Canada's provinces.

The government suit is on top of a C$27 billion class action suit by Quebec smokers, and in addition to a C$50 billion suit by the Ontario government. Four other provinces have also made claims in an apparent bid for settlements similar to those the industry has made with U.S. federal and state governments.

"What we're seeing is a strong common front by the provinces," Canadian Cancer Society senior policy analyst Rob Cunningham said. "There is strength in numbers."

The suit names, among others, Philip Morris International Inc and Japan Tobacco Inc's JTI-MacDonald Corp unit, and B.A.T. Industries Plc, affiliated with British American Tobacco PLC.

The Quebec government seeks to reclaim healthcare costs, past and future, from 1970 through 2030.

($1=$1.03 Canadian)

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)