Government to pursue Medicare cost recovery from tobacco industry

26 September 2014

Halifax -

The Canadian Cancer Society – Nova Scotia Division applauds action taken by the provincial government today to proclaim legislation against the tobacco industry for smoking-related health costs.

“The legislation proclaimed today will begin the process of holding the industry accountable for the harm they have done to the health of Nova Scotians,” says Kelly Cull, Manager, Government Relations, Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division.   

By proclaiming the Nova Scotia Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, the Province is empowered to launch legal action against the tobacco industry to recover the cost of treating tobacco related disease.  Nova Scotia will become the 10th province to file against tobacco companies to recover health care costs related to tobacco consumption. 

The tobacco industry’s addictive products are responsible for 30% of cancer deaths. 

“The tobacco Industry has used deceptive practices to promote their deadly products and the result has been vast sums of health-care dollars spent in the treatment of cancer, heart disease and other illnesses related to tobacco use,” states Cull. “This legal action is simply the right thing to do and we commend the government’s decision to pursue this matter.” 

This Medicare cost recovery initiative will seek to hold the tobacco industry accountable for wrongful behaviour; seek the truth by obtaining information on industry practices through public disclosure of internal documents; seek compensation for tobacco-related health care costs; and, seek to reform industry behavior so that tobacco companies do not repeat their actions of the past. 

The pending lawsuit has the potential to recover significant compensation in tobacco-related health care expenses.  “We hope government reinvests a portion of the funds recovered into tobacco prevention initiatives,” says Cull.  The use of tobacco products is the single most important cause of preventable cancer deaths. 

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333. 

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For more information, contact:
Heather Spriet, Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division
heather.spriet@ns.cancer.ca
(902) 423-6183 ext 222