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Alberta to launch lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers

Province seeks $10 billion in damages.

The Alberta government will be filing a lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers to recover $10 billion in health care costs associated with smoking-related illnesses.

“Tobacco use has had a devastating impact on many generations of Albertans. The costs are not just to our health care system, but in the many lives cut short by the use of tobacco,” said Premier Alison Redford. “This legal action is a significant part of renewing our tobacco reduction strategy.”

Alberta has retained Tobacco Recovery Lawyers LLP since June 2011, a consortium of law firms, to file the lawsuit on its behalf.

“Each year more than 3,000 Albertans die from tobacco-caused diseases,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health. “As part of our focus on wellness and keeping Albertans healthy, we will be renewing our tobacco reduction strategy to further decrease smoking rates, reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and providing more support to people who want to quit using tobacco.”

Alberta joins B.C., New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario in initiating litigation against tobacco manufacturers. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec are expected to file similar lawsuits shortly.

The Crown's Right of Recovery Act was proclaimed effective May 31, allowing Alberta to initiate legal action against the tobacco industry. The Act received Royal Assent on November 26, 2009, and allows government to take direct legal action against tobacco manufacturers to recover health care costs the province has incurred as a result of the industry’s actions.

Litigation to recover health care costs from tobacco manufacturers supports Alberta’s renewed tobacco reduction strategy, which will be released next month. The strategy aims to prevent youth tobacco use, protect Albertans from second-hand smoke and support people who want to quit tobacco.


Media inquiries may be directed to:
Bart Johnson
Press Secretary
Minister of Health

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.