A few decades ago, smoking was extremely popular amongst North America’s population. Rothmans, Imperial Tobacco and other major companies were making incredible revenues around the world. As society started to realize that cigarettes were extremely toxic products, governments started to legislate in order to limit damages caused by this product and put a halt to cancer multiplication, which also had a huge toll on the health system. Taxes were imposed on cigarettes’ sales and its consumption in restaurants and bars was finally banned, giving some relief to non-smokers.
Many consumers, though, feet tricked by the major companies. They believe that everything was done in order to increase addiction to cigarette and increase profits at the same time. More than 90 000 people in Quebec decided to launch a class action against them in 2012 for health problems developed while smoking cigarettes. Another class action, which concerns 1.8 million people who are addicted, is also taking place at the same time.
Since we all know today that cigarettes aren’t good for health, it is interesting to ask ourselves why a lawsuit was approved by the Supreme Court of Canada. In fact, it is believed that the three major cigarette producers (Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Benson & Hedges as well as JTI Mac Donal) hid information to the public even though they knew the possible health issues that would come from smoking.
Should governments help the companies to pay the lawsuit?
The three companies instituted proceedings to force British Columbia’s government to pay for the class action’s request, which is a bit more than 27 billion dollars. The proceedings, happily, were rejected at the beginning of May. If they lose, they will have to cover the whole price themselves. Tobacco companies should still be able to afford such crazy costs, though: in 2011, it is said that industry’s profits were close to 50 billion dollars around the world.
Too many young smokers
Smoking in Canada is still a very big problem. It is said that cigarette producers add special agents in their products in order to foster addiction, which explains why the smoking rate has not gone down so much in the past years. In Quebec province, for example, approximately 23% of the population is considered to be actively smoking. Of that percentage, more or less 33% would be of age 20 to 24. Many experts are saddened by this statistic: it means that cigarettes are far from disappearing from Canadians’ behaviors.