Tobacco companies are facing government lawsuits seeking hundreds of billions of dollars

The world’s largest tobacco companies suffered a legal setback in Quebec this month that drove two local cigarette makers into creditor protection. That may be the tip of the iceberg in Canada for British American Tobacco Plc and others facing separate government lawsuits seeking hundreds of billions of dollars.

BAT, Philip Morris International Inc. and a local unit of Japan Tobacco Inc. are defendants in lawsuits by Canada’s 10 provinces that want to recoup health-care costs linked to the effects of smoking, a move reminiscent of the U.S. in the 1990s. The first of these cases, some of which date back almost two decades, is scheduled to come to trial this year.

The country’s three most-populated provinces alone have signalled combined claims of more than $500 billion (US$375 billion).

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Thomas Mulier and Sandrine Rastello – Bloomberg News – March 20, 2019.

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