More litigation sought

| November 20, 2017

Governments should consider litigation against the tobacco industry to recover the ‘massive’ health care costs associated with the use of their products, according to a story in The Conversation based on a commentary published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) yesterday.

In the commentary, Dr, Ross MacKenzie, a lecturer in Health Studies at Macquarie University, along with his co-authors, Eric LeGresgley and Mike Daube, of the MJA, said that these costs were borne by Australia’s health care system.

But there were now a number of reasons why this was an opportune time to consider legal action.

Firstly, the costs were increasing. Tobacco was still a critical public health issue and remained the leading cause of preventable death, killing 15,000 Australians every year. Associated social and economic costs were estimated to be A$31 billion annually in 2008, and were now likely to be considerably greater.

Secondly, anti-tobacco support was strong. Support for tobacco control in Australia remained strong, as had been demonstrated by standardized tobacco-packaging legislation and widespread political backing for tobacco tax increases.

Thirdly, legal action was supported by the World Health Organization. Legal action was an increasingly important tobacco control instrument, whose value was recognised by the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Australia had ratified.

Fourthly, such litigation was already happening elsewhere. The tobacco industry had recently experienced a series of international legal setbacks including challenges to Australia’s standardized tobacco-packaging legislation.

The story is at:


Category: Breaking News, Litigation

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