DECEMBER 23, 1996
Tobacco legal action comes to Europe
THERE have been legal actions against American tobacco companies since the first links were established between smoking and cancer. These have been unsuccessful but in recent months a new wave of anti-tobacco legal action has begun involving individual states which are claiming that tobacco companies should pay them damages for the expenditure necessary to treat patients who suffer from tobacco-related illnesses.
The pressure on US tobacco companies is such that American Brands, for example, has decided to get out of the tobacco business.
This is very worrying for motor sport because a great deal of the sponsorship which keeps the sport running comes from tobacco companies.
Now anti-tobacco law suits are beginning in Europe. Last week the French tobacco SEITA - which owns the Gitanes and Gauloises brands - announced that it is being sued by a French cancer victim, who is claiming that his illness has been caused by smoking Gauloises cigarettes and is seeking damages, alleging that the company did not give enough information about the dangers of smoking.
The SEITA - major backer of the Ligier F1 team - said it was confident that it would win the case.
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