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Tobacco industry legally sued by Manitoba and other provinces

The bone of contention between provinces and tobacco industry battle is// the health care costs.

The suit is of a multibillion-dollar nature and could kick into high gear within two years. This info was provided by Manitoba Health Minister Tim Sale.

Tim Sale said, "This will unfold in a stepwise fashion over the next couple of years. We are putting Manitoba in a position to work with our colleagues in British Columbia and other provinces to serve notice on the tobacco industry that the costs that they and their products have visited on our province over many years . . . are their costs."

The tobacco industry is preparing for the battle, and believes it is hypocritical for governments to sue companies that produce a legal, highly taxed product.

Catherine Doyle of Imperial Tobacco said from Montreal retaliated and said, "They've regulated us, they've licensed us, they've collected tax money from us. And now they turn around and go ahead and sue us for something that they've licensed us to do. It seems sort of ironic."

"The process of launching a product liability suit is a very complex legal process," Sale said. The Manitoba bill is being applauded by anti-smoking groups.

The industry says it may very well be eliminated if the threatened lawsuits ever succeed.


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