Three tobacco firms say they will appeal a damages award of almost $12 billion to smokers who argued they didn't know the risks. Paul Chapman reports.
Canadian smokers and ex-smokers in Quebec have won nearly 12 billion U.S. dollars from three tobacco companies. They successfully argued in two related suits that the firms knew they were selling a harmful product but didn't make them sufficiently aware. Lise Blais' husband launched the fight in 1998. (SOUNDBITE)(French) LISE BLAIS, WIFE OF ORIGINAL PLAINTIFF, SAYING: "Did you stop to think what a cigarette is? It destroys you, you're health is totally destroyed." Anti-smoking campaigners representing the plaintiffs are welcoming the ruling. (SOUNDBITE)(French) MARIO BUJOLD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE QUEBEC COUNCIL ON TOBACCO AND HEALTH, SAYING: "It's a big day for the victims of tobacco who've been waiting about 17 years for this decision. It was a long process but we've arrived at the destination and it's a big victory for the victims and against the tobacco companies." The ruling affects about 100,000 people in Quebec. The tobacco firms - Imperial Tobacco Canada, JTI-Macdonald Corp and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges - say they'll appeal.