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January, 2012:

‘Sell tobacco shares’ Nottinghamshire County Council urged

BBC – Jan 27, 2012

Description: Nottinghamshire County Council

Shares in tobacco firms amounted to 1% of pension fund investments, the authority said

Nottinghamshire County Council’s £36m investment in tobacco firms as part of its pension scheme has been criticised by a doctor.

Dr Greg Place, chairman of a committee which represents GPs in the county, said the authority should “publicly disinvest”.

He said supporting the industry and promoting health were incompatible.

The council said the amount was 1% of all its investments and it had a duty to get the best return for its members.

‘Justifying smoking’

Dr Place, chairman of the Nottinghamshire Local Medical Committee, said: “Smoking related disease is a big problem.

“I was very surprised to hear a major local player is basically investing in tobacco companies and to some extent justifying smoking.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

Description: Dr Gregory Place

The council need to be honest about the fact that they have made a mistake”

Dr Greg Place

“Nottinghamshire County Council should disinvest and send a firm message out about why it is doing so,” said the Annesley Woodhouse GP.

The pension fund has investments in British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris International and Altria Group.

As well as the council’s own employees, the pension fund looks after the pensions of Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Trent University, which runs a cancer research centre at its Clifton Campus.

Councillor Michael Cox, chairman of the Nottinghamshire Pension Committee, said: “The Nottinghamshire Pension Fund has over 110 contributing employers.

“Although the county council invests and manages the fund on behalf of these organisations, the fund is separate to the authority’s other activities.

“The fund has a diverse range of investments, including shares, property, bonds and cash and does not screen stocks when making its investments but will take account of environmental, social and governance issues where these are likely to have an impact on returns.”

In 2013 formal promotion of public health in England and Wales will be transferred to local authorities from the NHS.

One of the health targets of local councils will be to reduce the nation’s smoking rates.

“The council needs to be honest about the fact that they have made a mistake because smoking is bad for you,” Dr Place said.

BBC © 2012

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‘Plain packs will make smoking history’

Description: Simon Chapman, anti-smoking activist

“This is unequivocally the biggest thing ever to hit the tobacco industry – the biggest threat it’s ever faced,” says Simon Chapman referring to plain packaging for cigarettes. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Stripping cigarette packs of their colourful exteriors and forcing them to be sold in plain packaging could prove fatal for the global tobacco industry. Who says so? No less an authority than Tobacco Journal International, the self-styled “leading international trade publication for executives in the world of tobacco”. One of its front covers in 2008 said simply: “Plain packaging can kill your business.” Back in 2008, plain packs were just an idea; now they are about to become a reality in Australia at the end of this year, with other countries set to follow suit, possibly including the UK.

Australia has blazed a trail in passing plain packaging legislation. Canada had tried, but failed in 1994, when momentum disappeared amid ministerial changes and intense lobbying from the big tobacco firms. Fast forward to 2012 and a policy that for years has been just a gleam in the eye of public health campaigners has become the new weapon of choice worldwide for governments against a powerful industry.

However, without Simon Chapman, Australia might not have taken the bold, pioneering step that has left cigarette firms furious and fearful for their future.

Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, is an unusual character: an academic who is better known as a campaigner, a feisty media performer who relishes debating with Big Tobacco mouthpieces, a snappy phrase-maker with a stand-up’s wit and timing, and an ex-smoker who wants to smash an industry whose products he once consumed.

His 2008 paper arguing for plain packs was accepted by a preventive health taskforce, set up by the Australian Labor government, and then implemented – to the taskforce’s astonishment. Chapman downplays his role. “I don’t like David and Goliath metaphors and I don’t like being painted as the David,” he says, aware that his instrumental role in advocating the policy, and determined campaigning in the Australian media, has seen him become a hero to anti-tobacco campaigners. “I have been one of the most prominent people making the case and attacking the industry, though there were a couple of dozen very smart researchers and activists in Australia involved,” he says.

“He’s one of the great figures of tobacco control in the world,” says Deborah Arnott, director of Action on Smoking and Health. “Everyone looks to Simon Chapman, not just in Australia but in the world, for leadership on campaigning. Simon suggested plain packs to the taskforce and was the public face of campaigning for it – he’s a real hotshot campaigner.”

Vested interests

The UK campaign group will start to lobby for plain packs once the Department of Health begins its consultation on plain packaging for cigarettes, expected to be published in March. It has launched the Plain Packs Protect partnership with Smokefree South WestCancer Research UK and other key health bodies. “Plain packs is going to be the biggest public health struggle we’ve seen for many years, especially as it involves taking on vested interests,” says Dr Gabriel Scally of Smokefree South West, who is also the NHS‘s regional director of public health for the region. “It could turn off the tap for the recruitment of many smokers in this country.”

Last week, Chapman was in Bristol and London on a two-day trip to help the public health community in the UK prepare to do its utmost to ensure that Britain follows Australia’s lead when the health department begins its consultation on plain packaging.

“The dominos are lining up,” Chapman says, referring to the countries that are seriously considering enforcing plain packs inside their own borders. Seventeen states, including Britain, attended a recent World Health Organisation meeting in Brunei on plain packs. New Zealand will be next, then Thailand and Panama, and possibly Canada, Chapman reckons. Britain is also “on the front of the grid”, but America’s first amendment makes the policy unlikely there, he says.

Chapman thinks that “Australia’s historic plain cigarette packaging legislation is a weapons-grade public health policy that is causing apoplexy in the international [tobacco] industry”. Australia’s ban on tobacco advertising in 1992 means 19-year-olds there have never seen such promotion of smoking as is common elsewhere, and young people’s smoking rates in Australia are at their lowest ever, just 2.5% of 14- to 17-year olds smoke. The figure in England is 17%. Generally, 15% of adult Australians smoke compared to 21% of Britons. “Plain packs will turbocharge this trend, making smoking history,” Chapman believes. “This is unequivocally the biggest thing ever to hit the tobacco industry – the biggest threat it’s ever faced. That’s why the tobacco companies are all taking court action in Australia and talking to each other, something they don’t usually do,” he says.

But plain packaging will not instantly cut smoking rates, he cautions. “We’re not expecting plain packaging to have much impact on existing smokers. It’s a policy about the next generation of kids who are coming through, so we would expect to slowly starve the industry of new customers by de-normalising and de-glamorising their products.”


It would, though, have an instant effect on tobacco firms’ profits, Chapman adds. Although blind taste tests show that consumers detect little difference between most brands of cigarettes, the successful marketing of some brands as cool, or macho, or feminine, or “lite” has helped sustain a hierarchy in which premium brands sell for a lot more than budget lines, despite costing much the same to produce.

In an era of widespread bans on tobacco advertising, seductive packaging remains the last place where what Chapman calls “semiotic signalling” is maintained. Replace those colourful packets with nothing but a plain colour, the manufacturer’s name and a massive health warning, and many people will stop buying the premium brands, he argues.

Big Tobacco loathes Chapman, obviously. But he is also, he adds, “a bit of a paradox to them. They dislike me intensely because of my prominence and persistence. But I also confuse them because I’m very against the censorship and rating of films because of their tobacco content. And I’m dead against banning smoking outside – I used my position on Sydney University’s senate to argue against a total ban on smoking anywhere on campus,” he says.


While lauding a string of successes against Big Tobacco in many countries recently – price hikes, smoking bans, advertising bans – he doubts such tactics can be usefully used for other public health problems such as obesity. He derides any idea of plain packaging for alcohol, because it would antagonise people unnecessarily, but backs restricted opening times for pubs and clubs, graphic warnings on labels and tougher controls on licensing.

Will Britain embrace plain packs? “I’m not blind to the fact that your health minister [Andrew Lansley] is under immense attack because of what he’s doing to the NHS. My observation of politicians throughout my career is that they long to imagine their retirement and the legacy they may have left. I would imagine that it would not be far from the front of his mind that he would be leaving a legacy as a destroyer [of the NHS]. If he were also to leave a legacy of plain packaging, he would unequivocally be remembered as a politician who did something good about a very big health problem,” says Chapman.

Curriculum vitae

Age 60.

Status Married, three children.

Lives Sydney, Australia.

Education University of New South Wales (BA majoring in sociology and psychology); master’s qualifying programme, Centre for Medical Education and Research Development, UNSW; PhD, department of preventive and social medicine, University of Sydney.

Career 2000-present: professor of public health, University of Sydney; 2010-11: senior consultant, Centre for Tobacco Control Research, Zhejiang University, China; 2006: honorary professorial fellow, the George Institute for International Health, Sydney; 1999-present: commissioning editor, low and middle income countries, Tobacco Control; 1994-present: associate dean (communications), faculty of medicine, University of Sydney; 1995-2000: associate professor, department of public health and community medicine, University of Sydney; 1989-94: senior lecturer, department of community medicine, University of Sydney; 1987-88: consultant, Australian health ministers’ advisory council; 1985-87: director, health promotion branch, public health service, South Australian Health Commission; 1984-74: various posts in academia and public health.

Public life 2008-present: board member, Cancer Australia; 2001-present: honorary board member, Action on Smoking and Health (Ash); 1996-2001 chairman, Ash; member, expert committee on tobacco, Australian National Preventive Health Agency; 1985-2000: member, expert advisory panel on tobacco and health, World Health Organisation.

Interests Singing in the Original Faux Pas band, West African music, keeping koi.

Tobacco companies drop judicial review proceedings over display ban

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Local authority pension funds and investments in the tobacco industry

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price comparison Jan 2012 cigarette prices inclusive local taxes Hong Kong way behind first world countries in preventative tobacco control

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Tobacco Divestment: A New Front in the Tobacco Wars | ENCOGNITIVE.COM
Tobacco Divestment: A New Front in the Tobacco Wars

TOBACCO DIVESTMENT: a New Front in the Tobacco Wars

The national media have been buzzing this spring with reports of a major
initiative in the struggle to promote a smokefree society:

– On May 7, Trustees of the New England Deaconess Hospital voted to
remove all tobacco stock from its portfolio “as the latest example of
the institution’s commitment to prevention and treatment of
smoking-related disease.”

– On May 18, Harvard President Derek Bok acknowledged the divestment of
over $58 million in tobacco securities because of a “desire not to be
associated as a shareholder with companies engaged in significant sales
of products that create a substantial and unjustified risk of harm to
other human beings.”

– The next day, acceding to Trustee Edith Everett and the other
pro-health activists who testified in behalf of her resolution, the
Board of Trustees of City University of New York voted to divest its
$3.5 million of Philip Morris stock, noting that owning stock in a
company “whose purpose is to addict to a lethal drug as many young
people as possible calls our educational leadership into questions.”

– On May 29, Governor Michael Dukakis declared his intention that the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts divest its $31 million of tobacco stock
held in state pension funds. And the NY Times reported on June 9 that
Governor Mario Cuomo was leaning towards a similar action in New York.

These remarkable events are the earliest victories of the TOBACCO
DIVESTMENT PROJECT, a new and dramatic initiative in the long-term
battle to end the ravages of tobacco addiction.

The Tobacco Divestment Project was born of frustration — the
frustration among pro-health activists and education leaders across the
country that, for all their efforts, smoking still abounds. Fifty-five
million Americans still smoke; 390,000 still die each year from
tobacco-induced illness. But the young people to whom tobacco companies
target their $3.28 billion advertising budgets are unmoved by the health
ravages of cigarette use, and over one million of our youth start
smoking each year. So tobacco use continues to overtax our health care
system and drive the costs of health insurance to such staggering
heights. It drains business of billions of dollars in increased
insurance and maintenance costs, absenteeism and lost productivity. And
it continues to afflict smokers and their families with untold

Crowning this frustration is the fact that tobacco companies are still
perceived as respectable, legitimate businesses. (See “The Teflon
Coating of Cigarette Companies,” PRIORITIES, Spring 1990.) Michael
Kinsley, writing in a recent New Republic, is similarly baffled by this
paradox. Wondering how history will regard our society’s tolerance of so
lethal and addictive a product, he asks:

“How could we have acknowledged the harm smoking does, and yet live so
comfortably with that knowledge?…What will seem incredible…is the
relative absence of stigma associated with the production and peddling
of tobacco products. Tobacco companies are still regarded as relatively
normal members of the business establishment. People work for them,
invest in them, sell to them and buy from them without giving it too
much thought.”

And as Messrs. Kinsley and White both argue, the horrific ravages of
tobacco addiction will not be brought under control until we first strip
away the tobacco companies’ “veneer of respectability.” And this is the
underlying purpose of the Tobacco Divestment Project.

The TOBACCO DIVESTMENT PROJECT champions a single, simple proposition:
we should not profit from tobacco addiction. As individuals, and as
members of institutions which We support with our efforts and our
contributions, we will not place profits above the health and welfare of
millions of citizens.

No individual or private organization should profit from tobacco
addiction. But it is totally unconscionable for non-profit and public
groups to invest in the leading preventable cause of death and disease
in America.

– Hospitals which serve the sick should not reap dividends from the
purveyors of sickness and death.

– Charities and philanthropies which hold tobacco securities violate the
moral purposes they are organized to uphold.

– Universities should not be profiting from the exploitation of youth,
minorities and third world nations (America exports over 112 billion
cigarettes annually) by companies whose continual denial of the harm of
smoking offends the very principles of higher education.

– States and municipalities, which bear the brunt of tobacco’s true
costs (in runaway health care and insurance costs), should set the moral
example that business as usual — profits before health — can not

Accordingly, the TDP champions board of directors and board of trustees
resolutions calling for the divestment of tobacco securities in the
pension, endowment and investment accounts of public and non-profit

“You think nicotine is addictive? What’s really addictive is the money:
that’s why tobacco thrives!” Calvert Crary, tobacco litigation analyst,
for Lave, Simpson and Amersand Co.

For many years, pro-health coalitions have focused their energies on
prevention and cessation as a way to end the ravaging effects upon the
health of smoker and nonsmoker alike which result from tobacco use. But
the underlying problem which causes this devastation is devotion to
profits. The profitability of tobacco is the fuel which drives and
sustains the vicious cycle of addiction. Tobacco money given to
non-profit community, artistic and educational organizations buys
respectability for tobacco companies and forestalls, public indignation
and censure. Tobacco money spent (in obscenely large amounts) on
lobbyists and PAC contributions buys political influence to thwart
effective regulation. And the enormous money which tobacco returns to
its investors has led to our willful blindness to the implications of
those investments.

Those who defend their tobacco investments argue that “if smokers choose
to smoke, and smoking is legal, why shouldn’t we profit from their
behavior?” The legality of tobacco use begs the question. Yes, smoking
is legal for adults: if it were suddenly declared illegal, we would have
55 millions additional criminals in this country. This is because most
smokers are not smoking out of “choice”: they are smoking out of
necessity. Seven years’ experience as a teacher and administrator of
hospital-based smoking cessation programs has made it starkly clear to
me that smokers — however much they may indeed enjoy cigarettes —
continue to smoke only because they are physically and psychologically
dependent: their choice has, in fact, been taken away from them. Thus,
as Anthony Ramirez noted in the May 30, 1990 New York Times, the
predictable, periodic price increases which tobacco companies pass along
to their customers cause very little reduction in consumption and
virtually no complaint from smokers. As billionaire Wall Street tycoon
Warren Buffet, formerly a major shareholder in RJR-Nabisco, is quoted as
saying: “I’ll tell you why I like the tobacco business…It costs a
penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there’s
fantastic brand loyalty.” This is why tobacco has remained so profitable
and so popular among investors.

As smoking becomes more and more a blue collar behavior, and as tobacco
executives direct their marketing efforts towards minorities (where
smoking remains more acceptable), tobacco profits can be seen almost as
a tax upon the more economically disadvantaged segments of our society.
Smokers are really twice victimized: they suffer the deterioration of
health and loss of life caused by tobacco use; and they must also endure
the periodic price increases which are passed along for no other reason
than to prop up these enormous profits in the face of a diminishing
customer base. As TDP Board member and US Trust VP Robert Zevin has
pointed out, recent tobacco profits have come almost exclusively through
price increases. True, our non-profit and governmental institutions are
in dire need of funds: but the monies which come from tobacco
investments are derived from those who can least afford it.

Spokesmen for the tobacco industry have tried to dismiss the TDP as a
merely symbolic gesture which will have no major effect upon their
financial strength — that the $3.5 million which CUNY has divested, or
event he $58 million of Harvard, are just a tiny fraction of the
industry’s overall capitalization. We are not so sure of this. The TDP
has been established to provide consulting and support services to the
thousands of pro-health activists throughout the country who have
already been waging battle in the “tobacco wars” and who now are being
provided with a new, powerful weapon to attack tobacco interests. As
physicians, scientists, educators and civic leaders raise the divestment
initiative at their own hospitals and universities, and as they
challenge their local and state governments and their religious
institutions to be true to their own moral values and social
responsibilities, the demand for tobacco stocks may indeed shrink. As
demand shrinks, stock prices will fall. In time, Harvard and CUNY may be
admired for their remarkable financial prescience!

But this misses the point. The ultimate goal of the TDP is not to affect
stock prices; it is to alter social perception, to “de-legitimize”
tobacco. We will not curb tobacco additions as long as our institutions
depend upon tobacco profits. Whether these profits are channeled to us
as dividends from tobacco companies, or contributed by tobacco
executives, or offered as grants from tobacco foundations, they
interfere with our clarity and resolve to bring this crisis under

Once the institutions which society most honors — our universities,
hospitals, churches and philanthropies — eschew tobacco profiteering,
then politics will follow. We will see nationwide what has just occurred
in Rhode Island: tobacco-free politics, the refusal by all the major
political candidates to own tobacco stock or accept tobacco PAC funds.
One of two congressmen and a sitting governor who did not take this
pledge were excoriated in the press. When tobacco interests lose their
(financial) control over legislators, effective regulation will follow.
Excise taxes will be raised, with proceeds used to support education and
prevention. Insurers will be required to cover smoking cessation
programs. Workplaces will be declared smoke free. Most critically of
all, laws to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors will be bolstered
with stiff penalties and means for enforcement. And then, the tobacco
wars will finally offer some hope of resolution.


– Participating in tobacco profits dampens our resolve to bring this
ravaging addiction under control. How can we solve the crisis of tobacco
addiction if we depend upon tobacco profits for our financial health?

– Divestment by universities, hospitals and religious institutions
strips away the “veneer of respectability” which tobacco companies
strive to maintain. Only in an atmosphere of indignation — such as we
have seen these past six months — can effective regulation come about.

– The public outcry of the divestment initiative will make it more
difficult for tobacco giants to acquire non-tobacco subsidies. Even
though their profits come primarily from tobacco, these companies
insulate themselves from public condemnation with the position that,
“we’re not just a tobacco company anymore.”

– As non-profit and government institutions shun tobacco profiteering,
the demand for these stocks will shrink: lower demand translates into
lower value. This deflation in value reduces investor appeal further;
and it becomes more difficult for tobacco companies to raise capital.

– As municipalities and states debate divestment, politicians will find
it more of a liability to accept tobacco PAC money; this money is the
only major hindrance to effective regulation. And as the political
climate brings about effective regulation (effective control over sales
to minors; restricted advertising; aggressive excise taxes; public and
workplace smoking restrictions), the customer base begins to shrink. As
we reduce the number of future smokers, tobacco profiteering will lose
its enormous power.

American Council on Science and Health, Inc.

Welcome to this electronic library of documents related to tobacco litigation in Canada

On this site you will find documents related to litigation efforts by individuals, groups of individuals and governments against tobacco companies.

This collection is organized by individual cases. Documents related to each case are accessible through separate index pages identified by case name and listed on the right hand side of each page.  A timeline of events in Canada is also provided (below).

Date Event


September 21, 2011 Quebec judge rejects agreement between federal government and plaintiffs in the recours collectifs.  Ruling.
August 26, 2011 Deadline by which any class member in the recours collectifs must submit comments or opposition to the agreement reached between the federal government and the plaintiffs.
August 25th Northwest Territories legislature gives assent to Bill 23, Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery lawsuit.
August 19th Bill 23, Tobacco Damages and Health Care costs Recovery lawsuit introduced in Northwest Territories legislature.  Debated on August 23
July 29, 2011 Supreme Court of Canada rules that the federal government cannot be held as a third party in the B.C. health care cost recovery suit nor the ‘Knight” case.  ruling
July 4, 2011 Federal government reaches a tentative agreement with the plaintiffs in the two Quebec recours collectifs.  The plaintiffs agree to waive any damages that might be paid by the federal government; in return the federal government agrees to collaborate with the plaintiffs and provide $1.6 million dollars

Notiice to class members.  Settlement with Federal government (French Only)

June 30, 2011 Manitoba and Nova Scotia announce that they will be pursuing medicare cost recovery lawsuits against the tobacco industry, and that they will be hiring the same consortium of law firms engaged by New Brunswick.  (Nova Scotia Press Release) (Manitoba Press Release)
June 17, 2011 PostMedia reports that  Imperial Tobacco has filed a third party notice against 18 native tobacco manufacturers and distributors. (Montreal Gazette. June 17, 2011)
April 27, 2011 Nova Scotia issues a new tobacco strategy which includes goals for litigation.

4.1 Explore taking legal action against tobacco manufacturers for its unlawful activities leading to increased tobacco use. The aims of such
litigation might be:
a) to recover costs associated with the past harms promulgated by the tobacco industry on the population of Nova Scotia,
b) to understand the scope of the industry’s misconduct in the past and in the present, and
c) to support new public health tobacco control measures to prevent tobacco manufacturers from being able to attract new users and retain
existing smokers.


February 24, 2011 Supreme Court of Canada hears appeals and cross appeals of decision to include/exclude the federal government from the B.C. cost recovery suit and the Knight case.  Webcast Hearing
February  8, 2011 Newfoundland files a statement of claim against tobacco companies.News release.
January 14, 2011 Supreme Court of Canada grants intervenor status to Ontario and New Brunswick in its review of third party claims in the B.C. cases.  For information click here.
January 10, 2011 Factums tabled in Supreme Court in two B.C. cases. (These can also be found on the SCC site

o    Federal government
(BC Health Care Damages, 33563 Factum -and Cross Respondent Factum)
(Knight Case, 33559, Factum and Cross Respondent Factum )

o    B.C. Government. 33563 – Cross Respondent Factum

o    JTI MacDonald (33563 BC)

o    Carreras-Rothmans (33563 BC)

o    BAT Industries  (33563 BC; Supplemental)

o    Imperial Tobacco Canada (33563 BC; supplemental)
(33559 – Knight)

o    Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (33563 BC; supplemental)


Oct 21, 2010 Supreme Court of Canada dismisses leave to appeal to the tobacco industry, and upholds the validity of the New Brunswick contingency fee arrangement. Decision. For other court documents click here
October 25, 2010 Alberta announces that it plans to launch a health care costs recovery action.
May 20, 2010 Supreme Court of Canada grants leave to appeal to the federal government and tobacco companies with respect to the December 8, 2009 judgement of the B.C. Court of Appeal on the inclusion of the government as a third party in the Knight class action and B.C. damages recover suits.
April 13, 2010 Settlement reached between Canada’s 10 provinces and the federal government and Japan Tobacco for $550 million. JTI pleads guilty to one offence under the Excise Act, and is fined $150 million, with a similar plea and fine of $75 million to Northern Brands.  Backgrounder
March 22, 2010 The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal denied class action certification in the Sparkes v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. “lights” class action.  Judgement
February 8, 2010 The federal government asks the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to appeal the December 8, 2009 judgments of the B.C. Court of Appeal. A cross appeal is filed by the tobacco companies


December 9, 2009 Prince Edward Island’s Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act receives Royal Assent.
December 8, 2009 B.C. Court of Appeal rules in favour of tobacco industry third party claim against the federal government in both the Knight and B.C. governmentactions.
November 25, 2009 Prince Edward Island tables legislation to allow government lawsuits against tobacco companies for past wrongdoing.
October 2, 2009 Quebec asks the court to dismiss the challenge against its Bill 43.
September 29, 2009 Ontario files a statement of claim for $50 billion.
August 29, 2009 Imperial Tobacco, JTI_Macdonald and RBH file a constitutional challenge against Quebec’s Bill 43.
Motion to institute proceedings for declaratory judgment
July 21, 2009 New Brunswick authority to use contingency fee basis for lawsuit  is upheld when Court of Queen’s Bench Judge Thomas Cyr rejected a preliminary motion filed by 15 tobacco companies named in the lawsuit that sought to remove the team of lawyers representing the province.
June 19, 2009 Quebec law Tobacco-related Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act (Bill 43) comes into force.
June 17, 2009 Winnipeg Free Press reports that Deborah Kunka has filed a class-action suit alleging the industry has intentionally misled the public about the health effects of smoking and targets children to maintain their profits. Representing her is Regina lawyer Tony Merchant. Newstory
June 1-8, 2009 B.C. Court of Appeal hears arguments to overturn decisions rejecting “Third Party” claims against Health Canada in Knight and B.C. Government lawsuits.
May 14, 2009 Ontario’s Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Actreceives Royal Assent. Bill
May 14, 2009 Quebec government introduces Tobacco-related Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act (Bill 43). Bill
May 11, 2009 Alberta introduces the Right of Recovery Act. Bill
April 29, 2009 PEI premier Ghiz tells reporters that PEI may join New Brunswick’s lawsuit, and that enabling legislation may be introduced this session.News story
March 4, 2009 Ontario government introduces Bill 155, Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act.


July 31, 2008 Government of Canada and all 10 provinces reach an agreement with Imperial Tobacco and Rothmans Benson and Hedges to settle claims arising from smuggling during the 1990s. Further work on criminal prosecution is dropped. Press release.  Agreement with RBH.  Agreement with ITL Agreement amongst provinces
April 10, 2008 B.C. Supreme Court dismissed third party claim against the government of Canada by tobacco companies sued by B.C. government.  ruling
March 13, 2008 New Brunswick files suit against tobacco companies operating in Canada.Statement of claimNotice of action
Feb 29, 2008 JTI-Macdonald files “action in warranty” (similar to 3rd party) forLetourneau and Blais cases.

Imperial Tobacco files “action in warranty” (similar to 3rd party) forLetourneau and Blais cases.

Rothmans Benson and Hedges files “action in warranty” (similar to 3rd party)

February 19, 2008 Ontario Superior Court resinstates fraud and conspiracy charges against six accused (in addition to Edward Lang), originally dropped in May 2007.Ruling


July 3, 2007 The B.C. Supreme Court rejects the Third Party Notice issued by Imperial Tobacco to the Government of Canada in the Knight case.  The government of Canada is no longer party to the case. Ruling on Third Party Notice
June 6, 2007 Imperial Tobacco file Third Party Notices to involve the government of Canada in the lawsuit brought by B.C. against it. Imperial Tobacco Third Party Notice.  JTI-Macdonald, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges do likewise.
May 30, 2007 Ontario Court orders  JTI-Macdonald Corp. and its former president Edward Lang to stand trial on charges that they exported billions of tax-free Canadian cigarettes into the United States so they could be smuggled back into Canada through the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve near Cornwall and sold on the black market.
April 26, 2007 Saskatchewan adopts the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. Bill
April 5, 2007 Supreme Court of Canada rejects appeal of B.C. Court of Appeal decision upholding B.C. legislation. Supreme Court Bulletin


December 15, 2006 New Brunswick issues call for proposals for contingency based litigants. call for proposals
December 11, 2006 A coalition of health groups “Campaign for Justice on Tobacco Fraud” calls on Ontario government to sue for health care cost recovery from tobacco companies. Press release

Premier Dalton McGuinty rejects call, saying “The other agenda is about punishing big tobacco. We have not embraced that agenda. That does not serve our purposes.”

November 21 2006 Saskatchewan introduces a Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. Press coverage
September 15, 2006 B.C. Court of Appeal upholds Justice Homes ruling that ‘ex-juris’ defendants should be included in action. Judgment – September 15, 2006
27 June 2006 Application is made to certify the Sparkes case as a class action. Application
June 22, 2006 New Brunswick’s Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is assented to. law
June 13, 2006 Manitoba’s Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is assented to. law
May 11, 2006 B.C. Court of Appeal upholds the certification of the Knight case.Judgment on Class Action
May 5, 2006 Montreal Gazette reports that Stan Smith has been sentenced to 8 months house arrest following a guilty plea for his conspiracy in smuggling cigarettes for JTI-Macdonald.
20 January 2006 Imperial Tobacco notifies the government of Canada that it is being named as a third party to the Sparkes suit. Third party claim


December 8, 2005 Nova Scotia’s Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is assented to.bill
December 1, 2005 Imperial Tobacco amends its third party claim. Amended Third Party Claim (December 1, 2005)
October 31, 2005 Ontario Superior Court Judge Cullity denies certification of Ragoonanan case as a class action. Ruling – 2005B
October 13, 2005 Nova Scotia introduces a Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Actbill
September 2005 Supreme Court upheld the legislation B.C. developed to manage the lawsuit.
September 29, 2005 Supreme Court of Canada upholds the validity of the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act.  Judgment September 29, 2005
June 27, 2005 Federal and provincial governments add their claims to that of the Quebec government.  Total claim exceeds $9 billion.

In addition to Quebec’s $1.3-billion claim, the federal government is seeking $4.3 billion (increasing its claim from $1.5 billion); New Brunswick $1.5 billion; Nova Scotia $326 million; British Columbia $450 million; Manitoba $23 million; Ontario $1.5 billion; and Prince Edward Island $75 million. Nova Scotia press release

June 26, 2005 B.C. Supreme Court (Justice Holmes) rules that even though some of the defendents are located outside of Canada, they can be included in the lawsuit. Judgment June 26, 2005
30 May 2005 Notices are issued to the public regarding eligibility to join the Quebec class actions, Blais and Letourneau
March 9, 2005 Ontario Superior Court Judge Cullity rejects Imperial Tobacco’s request to stop the Ragoonanan trial. Ruling – 2005A
March 8, 2005 Justice Winkler of Ontario Superior Court denies Imperial Tobacco’s request for costs to be awarded against class representatives in the Caputo case. Ruling March 8, 2005
February 2005 A third class action for deception arising from the sale of ‘light’ cigarettes is filed, this time in Quebec on behalf of representative claimant “Yves Gagnon.”  (rejected in 2006)
21 February 2005 Judge Pierre Jasmin of the Quebec Superior court authorizes both the Letourenau and Blais class actions.
Feb. 8, 2005 B.C. Supreme Court Justice Satanove rules that the Knight class action can be certified. This is the first class action against a tobacco company to be certified in Canada.  Judgment on Certification


December 2, 2004 B.C. Court of Appeal grants a stay of the B.C. litigation pending appeal to the Supreme Court. Judgment December 2, 2004
November 26 – 28 2004 RCMP agents searched the Montreal office of Imperial Tobacco Canada. The RCMP affidavit claims that smuggling led to $607 million in unpaid taxes to the federal government
October 25 – 29, 2004 Hearing on Class Action certification for the Knight case before B.C. Justice Satanove.
October 14, 2004 The federal government sides with tobacco companies in petitioning the court to not certify the Knight case. submission
September 3, 2004 Joe Battaglia dies of a heart attack.
August 24, 2004 JTI-Macdonald files an application of “Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)” to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Filing the CCAA makes it possible for JTI-Macdonald to to continue business operations normally.
August 10, 2004 The Québec Revenue ministry requests and obtained a court order for JTI-Macdonald to pay nearly $1.4 billion immediately for unpaid taxes, penalties and interests. JTI-Macdonald subsequently filed for bankruptcy, and protection was extended (the most recent extension ends November 30, 2005). Other  provinces have filed notice of their own potential claims in this matter of more than $9 billion.
July 2004 The “Sparkes” suit is filed in Newfoundland against Imperial Tobacco, claiming that customers were deceived by the marketing of ‘light’ cigarettes. The case is very similar to the “Knight” case in British Columbia
July 9, 2004 Supreme Court of B.C. turns down tobacco industry request for a variance in scheduling. Judgment July 9, 2004
May 20, 2004 B.C. Court of Appeal reverses lower court order of June 2003 and unanimously (3:0) rules that the amended B.C. legislation  is fully constitutional. Judgment May 20, 2004
April 30, 2004: In the Knight Case, Imperial Tobacco Canada filed its Statement of Defense and also filed a third party notice against the Attorney General of Canada.  In this third party notice, the company argues that light cigarettes were manufactured to comply with federal requirements, and that the government should be required to pay any damages, should they be determined. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd – Statement of Defence;Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd – Third Party Notice
February 2, 2004 Justice Winkler of Ontario Superior Court rejects the Caputo class action.Ruling – February 5, 2004


August 13, 2003 The Attorney General of Canada filed a suit in Ontario against JTI-Macdonald for $1.5 billion to recover tax losses caused by what it called a “massive conspiracy” to smuggle cigarettes. These proceedings have now been stayed pending resolution of the bankruptcy protection.
June 5, 2003 B.C. Supreme Court rules that the amended Act is unconstitutional on the grounds of extraterritoriality.  Judgment – June 5, 2003
June 4, 2003 Ontario Superior Court upholds a Master’s ruling in the Caputo case.Ruling – June 4, 2003
May 8, 2003 The “Knight” case is filed in British Columbia against Imperial Tobacco for engaging in “deceptive trade practices” when it used the term ‘light’ on its Players Light cigarettes. Statement of Claim
May 1, 2003 Spasic
Imperial Tobacco Canada ltd and Rothmans, Benson and Hedges both file  statements of defense in the Spasic case. Statement of defence – ITL;Statement of defence – RBH
February 2, 2003 Ontario Superior Court rejects a further request of Imperial Tobacco and Rothmans, Benson and Hedges to strike down sections of the statement of the Spasic claim. Ruling – 2003
February 2003 The RCMP laid charges of fraud and against JTI Macdonald and 8 former corporate executives. Investigators claimed the companies defrauded Canada, Ontario and Quebec of $1.2 billion in tax revenue between 1991 and 1996.


September 10, 2002 The Ontario Court of Appeal reviews the Wilson judgement in the McIntyre case and rules that contingency fees are not necessarily disallowed in Ontario.  Ruling
February 20, 2002 Nova Scotian Peter Stright filed a claim against Imperial Tobacco for damages resulting from his Buerger’s disease caused by smoking.Statement of Claim Stright v. Imperial Tobacco Company Ltd.,  Supreme Court of Nova Scotia court file # 177663.
January 17- 19 2002 RCMP searched the premises of Rothmans, Benson and Hedges in connection with cigarette smuggling in the 1990s, as part of an investigation that is apparently ongoing.


October 21, 2001 Canada’s appeal of Justice McAvoy’s ruling is dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
July 26, 2001 The Ontario Court of Appeal rejects Imperial Tobacco as an intervenor in its review of the Wilson decision to allow a contingency fee basis for the McIntyre case against it.
June 21, 2001 Quebec Minister of Justice, Linda Goupil and Associate Minister of Health, Social Services and Youth Protection, announce the establishment of a special committee to review medicare cost recovery lawsuit against tobacco companies.
June 1, 2001 Justice Thompson rules against the Battaglia claim. Judgment
May 24, 2001 Newfoundland’s “Act to Provide for the Recovery of Tobacco Related Health Care Costs” is passed.
April 10, 2001 Janos Kardos drops his claim against Imperial Tobacco and signs a consent order to dismiss the claim. (Alberta Action No. 0001-05941)
March 22, 2001 The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by Imperial Tobacco Ltd. and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc of the July 2000 decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal to allow the Estate of Mirjana Spasic to pursue their liability claim against them.
March 1, 2001 Judge Wilson of the Ontario Superior Court rules that Maureen McIntyre may enter into a contingency fee arrangement with her lawyers, Rochon Genova, to sue Imperial Tobacco over the death of her husband, Ronald McIntyre. The ruling is appealed by the Ontario government.
January 24, 2001 B.C. government re-launches its lawsuit. Statement of claim.  Press release:  B.C. starts next round in tobacco fight.  Summary of claim
Tobacco industry’s own words


December 5, 2000 Justice Peter Cumming of the Ontario Superior Court removes Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald from the Ragoonanan action.Ruling – 2000
November 20-28, 2000 The Battaglia case is heard in North York Small Claims Court before Justice Pamela Thompson.
September 6, 2000 Ontario appeals the rejection of its RICO suit
August 7, 2000 U.S. courts refuse to hear the Ontario complaint on the grounds that a foreign government such as Ontario could not sue in U.S. courts.
July 21, 2000 The Court of Appeal of Ontario strikes down Justice Cameron’s ruling and reinstates sections 8 – 15 of the claim (but strikes down section 16 of the claim). Ruling – 2000
July 6, 2000 A revised version of the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is passed by the B.C. Legislature. Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act
June 30, 2000 Justice McAvoy of the U.S. District Court (New York) dismisses Canada’s case against RJ-Reynolds.  Ruling
June 2000 Imperial Tobacco rejects an offer to settle the Battaglia claim with an apology.
April 10, 2000 Calgarian, Janos Kardos files a claim against Imperial Tobacco for $2 million for damages resulting from the death of his wife, Shirley Cardos. (Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Action 0001-05941).
April 3, 2000 Ontario Small Claims Court judge orders a trial to hear Joseph Battaglia’s claim against Imperial Tobacco Canada ltd.  for damages resulting from his smoking Matinee cigarettes. Statement of claim. This is the first time ever an individual has won the right to take a tobacco giant to trial.
March 21, 2000 B.C. government announces that it will re-file its lawsuit. Press release: Province to continue tobacco legal action
March 2, 2000, Ontario filed a medicare cost recovery lawsuit against the tobacco industry in U.S. federal court under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
February 21, 2000 Supreme Court of British Columbia rules that the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act in British Columbia is unconstitutional based upon the extra-territorial scope of the Act. The BC Government’s action is dismissed. Judgment – February 21, 2000
January 11, 2000 Davina Ragoonanan, mother of Jasmine and sister of Philip files a claim against Imperial Tobacco Canada, Ltd., Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and JTI-Macdonald as a class action.  The suit claimed that the fire would not have happened if the tobacco companies had made their cigarettes fire-safe. Statement of Claim


December 1999 Les Thompson, a former RJR-Macdonald sales executive, was sentenced by a U.S. judge to 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to laundering $72 million U.S. from smuggling tobacco into Canada.
December 23, 1999 Ronald McIntyre dies from lung cancer on December 23, 1999 at the age of sixty-three.
December 21, 1999 The Government of Canada files a lawsuit in the United States Federal Court against RJR-Macdonald Inc., RJ Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., several related companies, and the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council related to the loss of tax revenues associated with smuggling.Statement of Claim
April 23, 1999 Ontario government announces that it will file a lawsuit in the United States against the tobacco industry under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.


16 December 1999 A Rimouski small claims court hears a claim for $300 from Cecilia Letourneau for reimbursement of the costs of her nicotine replacement therapy. The judge rejects the request.
18 November 1998 The Conseil quebecois pour le controle du tabac, with its representative client, Jean Yves Blais, files a request to proceed with a class action suit against RJR/JTI Macdonald, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges and Imperial Tobacco. Representing the case is Lauzon Belanger (
November 25 1998 In the Spasic case, Justice Cameron of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) strikes out sections 8 – 16 of the statement of claim (those sections dealing with spoilation). Ruling – 1998
November 12, 1998: British Columbia files a lawsuit against tobacco companies operating in Canada as well as their foreign owners. Statement of claim.Summary of Statement of Claim (prepared by B.C. gov’t); Press release Province Sues Tobacco Companies
September 10, 1998 On behalf of representative client Cecilia Letourneau, Trudel and Johnston ( file a request for certification of a class action against Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Benson & Hedges et JTI MacDonald for damages arising from addiction to their products.
June 11, 1998 British Columbia legislature revises the Tobacco Damages Recovery Actand renames it the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. (TDHCCRA).  Press release Historic tobacco legislation holds manufacturers accountable for prevention and health care costs.; B.C. government backgrounder on Strategy.
February 1998 Mirjana Spasic dies of smoking-related lung cancer. Her daugher, Ljubisa Spasic, continues the claim on behalf of her estate.
January 18, 1998 Phillip Ragoonanan, 16,  Jasmine Ragoonanan, 3,  Ranuka Baboolal, 15, die in a house fire in Mississauga, Ontario
January 6, 1998 British Columbia announces legal team to lead lawsuit. Memo from public relations firm to IMASCO reviewing announcement
September 16, 1997 A second suit is filed as part of the Spasic case against  B.A.T. Industries alleging intentional “spoliation of evidence” (i.e. that the tobacco companies destroyed evidence of their wrongdoing). Statement of Claim – BAT
July 28, 1997 Tobacco Damages Recovery Act adopted by BC Legislature with all-party support.
June 12, 1997 Joe Battaglia files an action in the Ontario Small claims Court against RBH, Imperial Tobacco and RJR/JTI MacDonald.
June 1997 British Columbia Premier, Glen Clark, announces intention to sue tobacco companies. Globe and Mail, June 16, 1997Press release.  Speaking notes
May 1, 1997 Mirjana Spasic files a claim against imperial Tobacco and Rothmans, Benson and Hedges for damages in the amount of $1,000,000 in association with her lung cancer. Statement of Claim – ITL and Schedule A.
September, 1996 British Columbia Minister of Health, Joy Macphail, expresses interest in suing tobacco companies to recover health care costs.
Thursday, June 1, 1995 A demand letter is sent on behalf of  Mr. Albert Chalut to Imperial Tobacco. (This case was not pursued).
May 26, 1995 The Letourneau class action is re-named and the statement of claim amended. Mr. Letourenau withdraws as a named class representative and is replaced with Lori Cawardine and Russel Hyduk.  Amended statement of claim
January 13, 1995 Toronto lawyer, Richard Sommers, attempts a class action suit against Canada’s 3 major tobacco companies. This is the first class action suit against tobacco companies outside of the United States. The case is called “Letourneau” after the first of the three plaintiffs named (Donald Letourenau, David Caputo, Luna Roth).
March 22, 1993 The Supreme Court of British Columbia issued reasons for its ruling that the limitation period had expired on the Perron case and that it could not proceed. Judgment – 1993
February 2, 1990 The Court of Appeal for British Columbia upheld a prior court ruling against RJR-Macdonald’s request that the Perron action be dismissed because the limitation period was over. Judgment – 1990
June  20th, 1988 Vancouver lawyer Russell Stanton filed a suit against RJR MacDonald Inc. on behalf of his client, Roger Perron. Roger Perron had lost both his legs through amputation as a result of Buerger’s Disease.  Statement of Claim,Writ of summons
February 26, 1987 Relatives and Friends of Dead and Dying Smokers announces its formation, and calls for product liability suits to be filed in Canada against tobacco companies.  Press release.  Backgrounder.

This library was produced Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. For questions or comments about the material listed here, please contact us at 613 233 4878.

Welcome to this collection of materials related to the plain packaging of cigarettes.

Plain packaging

This sub-site is intended provide access to researchers and governments about the history, research and policy context of proposals for plain packaging of tobacco products.

The plain packaging of cigarettes was first proposed in the late 1980s as part of a generation of package reform proposals, which also included the development of larger and graphic package warnings.  You can trace these developments through the Timeline which also provides links to relevant documents and sources.

In recent years, a number of governments have supported the idea of plain packaging, although none as yet have implemented requirements that would end the use of the cigarette package as a promotional tool.  In 2008, more than 160 nations agreed that the provisions of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that controlled advertising and labelling would be best implemented with plain packaging. You can read more about these developments, as well as the growing body of evidence in support of plain packaging by downloading research and related documents. (Because plain packaging is often studied and proposed in conjunction with other packaging issues, like deceptive terms and colours, you will also find research related to these parallel streams).

The tobacco industry has consistently opposed the development of policy measures which affect their ability to use tobacco packages. You can access Industry positions to packaging proposals, as well as analysis of their strategies on this site.

If you are looking for Information Products or material you can easily share with others, you can access it here.

Examples of plain packaging Prototypes are available.

Links to other sites:

Cancer Council Victoria
* Ash Australia tobacco industry activities

This site is maintained by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.
Thanks go to the researchers and analysts whose work is linked here.

Change the Rules – Campaign to ban flavoured and other tobacco products

HK’s DJ Tobacco flavored tobacco Peel is freely available and sold in Hong Kong – this needs to stop !

It’s time to
change the rules!

Governments must stop playing catch up with the industry’s never-ending ability to rejuvenate and renew its deadly products. We need laws to prevent companies from finding more and more inventive ways to attract young people.

New rules should ban all flavours, as well as all new tobacco products — unless authorities decide there is a health reason to do otherwise.

This is by far the most effective way to thwart the tobacco industry’s pervasive drive to invent new ways of attracting new consumers.