Alberta government claim alleges smoking industry conspiracy

Alberta government claim alleges smoking industry conspiracy by Kevin Martin, June 11, 2012, Calgary Sun
Tobacco companies have conspired for more than a half century to create a smoke screen to deceive the public about the dangers of cigarettes, Alberta’s $10-billion lawsuit claims. In its statement of claim, filed Friday in Calgary, the province alleges manufacturers breached their duties to consumers in a variety of ways. Among the breaches were “deliberately designing tobacco products to be highly addictive,” and “deceiving Albertans by making misrepresentations minimizing the addictiveness of tobacco products,” it claims. … Smokers were duped by the industry “first falsely denying the health risk of exposure to tobacco products, then concocting and perpetuating a fallacious controversy as to whether there was a real health risk.” The court action seeks compensation for the health care costs the province has incurred as a result of the industry misleading the public about the dangers of both smoking and second-hand smoke. “The Crown has incurred billions of dollars of costs in providing health services to treat and care for Albertans who suffer tobacco-related diseases and who are at risk for tobacco-related diseases,” it says. “The defendants … have conspired or acted in concert with respect to the breaches of duty.” Among the deceptions perpetuated by the industry are “tobacco products are not addictive,” and “there is no, or limited evidence that tobacco products are addictive,” the claim asserts. Tobacco companies knew, or should have known, since the early 1950s, the danger their products created for consumers of health risks including death, it says. They used “deceptive marketing practices” and engaged in “unfair trading practices” during that period. … Officials from major tobacco companies first met in late 1953 to conspire to keep the public in the dark about the health risks associated with smoking. “The conspiracy was continued through secret committees, conferences and meetings involving senior personnel and through written and oral directives.”

[Refer also to: Ernst Letter to Alberta Premier Alison Redford, June 13, 2012: To Smoke or Not to Smoke and supporting documents ]

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