Should Big Tobacco Be Sued for Health Care Bills? An Analysis

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Should big tobacco be sued for health bill? An analysis

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada on the subject of smoking is the main topic of my articles. The landmark ruling made on September 30th gives the province of British Columbia ammunition against big tobacco companies. "The decision allows British Columbia to sue tobacco companies for damages related to smoking-related health care costs dating back 50 years" (Bell Globalmedia Inc [BGMI], 2005). Many expect the ruling in BC will act as a model for other provinces to follow suit. The resulting lawsuits could potentially cost Canadian tobacco companies like Benson & Hedges, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans hundreds of billions of dollars. Similar legislation passed in Florida in the early 90s and resulted in a 245 billion dollar settlement spread over a twenty five year period. A similar settlement in Canada would bankrupt the smaller Canadian tobacco industry. Canadian tobacco companies also argue that the ruling is controversial since the government has been profiting from the collection of billions of dollars in cigarette taxes. I will be analyzing the articles from the functionalist and conflict perspectives, focusing on how tobacco products affect people's health, life expectancies, and mortality rates (Schaefer, Floyd & Haaland, p.384, 2003).

From a functionalist's point of view, the Supreme Court ruling is beneficial to society while it is also harmful to tobacco companies. Canadian tobacco companies, in part should be held accountable for the damages resulting from their tobacco products. The tobacco industry marketed tobacco products while they refuted the "hidden" ...

... middle of paper ..., Bonnie. Sociology: A Brief Introduction, First Canadian Edition, Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 2003.

The Ontario Lung Association. Homepage. Stop Smoking! Youth and Tobacco. 2003.

Top court fires up provinces for smoking lawsuits. (2005, October 2). The National Post.


Top court rules B.C. can sue tobacco companies. (2005, September 30).

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