A typical cal scene in an Austrian cafe (above)
From BBC NEWS>. [A Canadian court has ordered three tobacco companies to pay C$15.5bn (£8bn; $12bn) – the largest award for damages in the country’s history.
The plaintiffs were Quebec smokers who said the firms failed to warn them of health risks associated with smoking.
Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald vowed to appeal against the decision.
The class-action lawsuits were filed in 1998, but only recently went to trial in the courts.
The firms argued that Canadians have had a “high awareness” of smoking health risks since the 1950s.
“That awareness has been reinforced by the health warnings printed on every legal cigarette package for more than 40 years,” JTI-Macdonald said in a statement.
But the plaintiffs argued that the companies did not properly warn their customers and failed in their general duty “not to cause injury to another person”, according to the Quebec Superior Court decision.} link http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32969338
Good grief! How can anybody not know the health risks associated with smoking in this day and age? I know not all Canadians are stupid but this particular group of people must have been. If only the notion of personal responsibility were as popular as the notion that governments should legislate to enforce health and lifestyle choices on others.
What if the victims of road traffic accidents started a class action against car manufactures because they hadn’t been made sufficiently aware that if they stepped out in front of a car they might get hurt? Or maybe climbers who fall from mountains should sue the local authorities for not warning them strongly enough that climbing mountains can be risky?
Meanwhile in Europe Austrian smokers who have successfully avoided or gotten round most of the smoking bans in the last decade have been warned that from 2018 smoking will indeed be banned in all public places. Austria has been called “The Ashtray of Europe” because of its high percentage of smokers and its refusal to bow down to European anti smoking legislation. Interestingly however it is one of the healthiest places in Europe and has some of the lowest rates of “smoking related diseases. (Look up the statistics). I have spent many enjoyable hours in Viennese cafes chatting and reading while drinking coffee or wine and smoking at the same time in plush, comfortable surroundings. It would be such a shame to see that enjoyable characteristic element of Austrian lifestyle disappear. Is it too much to hope that the Austrians will continue to be quietly rebellious against the anti smoking Mafia?