MONTREAL, March 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the largest lawsuit ever undertaken in Quebec and Canada was launched in Montreal. Two class actions are being brought before the Quebec Superior Court against tobacco companies in an effort to seek compensation for the victims of their harmful products. This is an important day for health and truth; unfortunately, however, Quebec remains one of the provinces where the proportion of young smokers is highest.
"We applaud the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, one of the plaintiffs, for its efforts and hard work over the past 13 years. The trial, which begins today, is historic. It will attempt to establish responsibility with regard to the damage caused to the health of people in Quebec," states Jean-Daniel Hamelin, Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec Division. "Our objective is to ensure that the truth comes out and justice is done for the thousands of people who have suffered due to their addiction or who have died as a result of it."
In addition to seeking compensation for the victims of the tobacco industry, the trial provides an excellent opportunity to find out the truth about tobacco companies' knowledge and conduct. Internal and secret documents are expected to be presented as evidence by tobacco manufacturers, thus providing an opportunity to shed light on the many deceptive tactics employed by this unscrupulous industry.
"In Quebec, we've had a longstanding and major problem with tobacco, which has cost tens of thousands of lives. Until now, tobacco companies didn't recognize any responsibility for their products' devastating effects," points out Mélanie Champagne, a tobacco policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec Division. "Tobacco manufacturers must be held accountable for their actions, and legal proceedings provide a key opportunity to bring about a fundamental change in this industry's business practices."
According to the CCS, tobacco control is a critical issue since an estimated 30% of cancer deaths and 85% of lung cancer cases are due to smoking. Also, as mentioned in the lawsuit, smoking is a recognized cause of throat and laryngeal cancer. In addition, smoking may also cause colorectal, pharyngeal, tongue, esophageal, stomach, kidney, bladder, cervical, lower urinary tract, and pancreatic cancer. Moreover, recent data suggest a link between smoking and breast cancer.
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The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything it can to prevent cancer, save lives, and support people living with cancer. To find out more about cancer, please visit our web site at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Centre at 1 888 939-3333.
Mélanie Champagne, tobacco policy analyst, Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec Division and Rob Cunningham, lawyer and senior policy analyst, Canadian Cancer Society are available for interviews.
For further information:
André Beaulieu, Senior Advisor, Public Relations, CCS - Quebec Division
[email protected] | 514 393-3444