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March 9th, 2012:

Government of Canada Legislation

Clear the Air says: the cost of treatment for tobacco related diseases in Hong Kong in 1998 was calculated as HKD 5.3 billion per year (University of HK Dept of Community Medicine report). Now in 2012 that cost will be far higher.

Clear the Air queries why this seemingly tycoon friendly Hong Kong Administration has failed to emulate USA and now Canada to sue the tobacco companies for the substantial costs of medical treatment of tobacco related diseases.

Meanwhile the Canadian Province of Alberta has divested from tobacco stocks’ investments with others expected to follow.

The Governments of Norway and New Zealand have already divested from tobacco investments.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is in the process of like divestment also, having realised it is unethical, contrary to the FCTC Treaty

binding Hong Kong SAR and a poor long term investment which can only profit from the death and suffering of its citizens.

We trust the Hong Kong Mandatory Provident Fund will soon follow suit.

89% of Hong Kong people do not smoke and would not tolerate third parties investing their contributions in tobacco stocks whilst these lurid despicable companies will always continue to addict Hong Kong youth in the search for profits and replacement smokers.

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BC joins smokin’ hot lawsuit – BC News –

BC joins smokin’ hot lawsuit

by The Canadian Press – Story: 72204
Mar 9, 2012 / 8:17 pm

British Columbia and five other provinces are teaming up to sue Canadian tobacco firms for health-care costs.

B.C., New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are retaining a national legal team to help them prosecute Canadian tobacco companies.

An official in B.C.’s Justice Ministry said Friday the provinces are looking to save costs and add clout to their cases by working together.

The statements of claims, where the province’s are seeking recovery of billions of dollars worth of health costs associated with smoking illnesses and cancers, are similar, said the official.

He said the provincial governments also believe that because of the many common elements of the claims, combining forces with other provinces and co-ordinating legal resources will bring their cases to trial faster.

Every Canadian province and Nunavut have adopted legislation that seeks recovery of medicare costs against the tobacco industry, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Earlier this year, Ontario filed a lawsuit against Canadian tobacco companies seeking $50-million in damages.

Fourteen years ago, B.C.’s former New Democrat government became the first in Canada to attempt to sue tobacco companies, but the lawsuit was rejected by the courts as too broad.

Eight years ago, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled the B.C. Liberal government’s Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is constitutionally valid legislation, paving the way for a lawsuit that seeks to recover $10 billion in health-care costs from tobacco companies.

In 1999 in the United States, the tobacco industry agreed to pay $246 billion over a 25-year period for health-care costs that resulted from the use of its products.

The Canadian Cancer Society reports that tobacco products are the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing 37,000 Canadians annually. It says tobacco products are responsible for about 30 per cent of cancer deaths and for 85 per cent of lung cancers.

Lung cancer kills more than 20,000 Canadians a year.

The B.C. government lawsuit alleges tobacco manufacturers failed to warn consumers of the dangers of smoking and targeted children in their advertising and marketing.

The suit said tobacco companies should be held liable for the tobacco-related illnesses that cost British Columbia an estimated $500 million a year in health costs.

Tobacco companies have responded previously to the B.C. lawsuit, saying the government is in danger of spending millions of dollars on a lawsuit, but not receiving any money if it wins.

Canadian tobacco companies can’t afford to pay huge legal settlements, said the industry. The Canadian companies can’t withstand settlements anywhere near the magnitude of their U.S. counterparts, who have been ordered to pay hundreds of millions, said the industry.

B.C.’s lawsuit names Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges, JTI-Macdonald, the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers’ Council and several foreign tobacco companies.

Surgeon General report: exec-summary

The new Surgeon General’s report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, contains an extensive discussion of the effects of smoking in movies on young people. The bottom line: ‘The evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people.’ (Page 6)

Significantly, the 36 page long section, ‘Images of Smoking in Movies and Adolescent Smoking,’ is in Chapter 5, ‘The Tobacco Industry’s Influences on the Use of Tobacco Among Youth.’ The Surgeon General is effectively putting smoking in the movies in the same category as conventional cigarette marketing activities. Indeed, the summary of Chapter 7, ‘A Vision for Ending the Tobacco Epidemic,’ concludes, ‘Greater consideration of further restrictions on advertising and promotional activities as well as efforts to decrease depictions of smoking in the movies is warranted, given the gravity of the epidemic and the need to protect young people now and in the future (page 7).

The report reviews the ‘Historical Links Between the Tobacco Companies and the Movie Industry’ (pages 565-566) and concludes that lowering young people’s level of exposure to on-screen smoking leads to lower risk of smoking (page 593) and and endorses an R rating for smoking as a way to reduce the level of exposure (page 598).

The report also discusses the varying response to the issue of smoking in the movies by studio, and names names (page 570), noting that as of 2010 three studios had policies in place that had nearly eliminated smoking in their youth-rated movies (Disney, Time Warner, Universal) while the others had not (Viacom, News Corp., Sony, and the independent producers).

The ‘fact sheet’ that goes with the report states, ‘Youth who are exposed to images of smoking in movies are more likely to smoke. Those who get the most exposure to onscreen smoking are about twice as likely to begin smoking as those who get the least exposure. Images of smoking in movies have declined over the past decade; however, in 2010 nearly a third of top-grossing movies produced for children — those with ratings of G, PG, or PG-13 — contained images of smoking.’

The full 36MB report, fact sheet and supporting materials are available at: