Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If Ontario can sue tobacco companies, can smokers sue Ontario's government?

smoking blond Pictures, Images and Photos

You may have seen the news today that the government of Ontario is planning to sue tobacco companies for $50 billion dollars in an effort to recoup the costs related to treating smokers. According to the lawsuit tobacco companies inflicted harm on the citizens of Ontario by disregarding public health through the promotion and sale of cigarettes.

Alrightee then, let me take a deep drag and think this one through.

The government of Ontario regulates and generates revenue from the sale of cigarettes, in effect making them a party to any wrongdoing, at least in this blogger's not always so humble opinion. In fact, in the above linked Globe and Mail article, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco refers to the government of Ontario as a, "senior partner" given the billions generated in tax revenue over the years.

Sounds about right to me.

Politicians are well versed in the sport that is sucking and blowing at the same time, but this takes the practice to an entriely new level. If the government is successful in its efforts then smokers should be able to sue the government for compensation as well.

Why the hell not?

Tobacco companies knew their products were harmful to people's health, but sold them anyway. Government knew about the risks as well, but allowed cigarettes to be sold. Before launching any lawsuits, governments should first ban the sale of smokes. I'm not employed in the legal profession, but it strikes me as pretty weak for the government to be suing over something it both condones and profits from.

What possible argument could government lawyers have to contradict claims by smokers? Were politicians aware of the health risks associated with smoking? Of course. Did they enact legislation banning the sale of this harmful product? No. The tax revenues were just too damn appealing to pass up, as attractive as the woman in the picture above.

Make smoking illegal, then after the government is done having their lawyers pick over the carcasses of the tobacco companies, smokers should then be allowed to go after the government.

If there are any lawyers out there thinking of a class action suit, feel free to contact me...I'll have my pen ready.

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