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The lawsuit against Imperial Tobacco Benelux, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International, was launched last March by Dutch anti-cancer association KWF, the Youth Smoking Prevention foundation, and two smoking victims Anne Marie van Veen and Lia Breed.

“We see the heartache caused by the tobacco industry every day: amputated legs, heart attacks, strokes, people who have shorter lives because they smoked and wrestle with the fact they are going to die.” Dink Legemate, Chief Surgeon at Amsterdam’s AMC teaching hospital and board member of the NTvG

The NTvG which represents approximately 250 doctors, and the ClaudicationNet foundation, which boasts nearly 2,000 physiotherapists as members, have just announced their decision to join the battle. “We doctors want to take on the tobacco industry together with patients,” said Dink Legemate, a chief surgeon at Amsterdam’s AMC teaching hospital and board member of the NTvG.

“We see the heartache caused by the tobacco industry every day: amputated legs, heart attacks, strokes, people who have shorter lives because they smoked and wrestle with the fact they are going to die.” added Legemate, whilst pointing out that between 70% and 80% of the organisation’s members were in favour of being part of the lawsuit.

Inaccurate labelling of toxic chemicals

Cigarettes have very small ventilation holes in filters, due to which results are distorted when cigarette smoke is tested in laboratories for tar and nicotine.
One of the charges against the firms is giving false readings in test results. Cigarettes have very small ventilation holes in filters, due to which results are distorted when cigarette smoke is tested in laboratories for tar and nicotine. When people smoke, these same holes are closed up by the mouth and fingers, however they remain unobstructed, hence open during the testing process. Apparently this equates to smokers inhaling up to 2.5 times more chemicals than lab reports claim.

 

Lawsuit founder Anne Marie van Veen, has metastatic lung cancer. She launched the campaign ‘Sick of Smoking’, and is urging anyone who is sick “literally or figuratively” of the tobacco industry practices, to join the fight.

Thinking of future generations

The campaign is not seeking to win damages for patients affected negatively by smoking, but rather to get the major four big tobacco companies convicted for the health crises they have greatly contributed to, in the hope of minimizing the chances of future generations suffering the same fates. The public prosecution department still has to confirm whether it will proceed with a prosecution.