I’m Confused

I’m reading an article in “The Telegraph” about the Canadian court that has ordered British American Tobacco to pay £5.5bn to one million smokers who are either unable to stop smoking or are now suffering from throat or lung cancer, or emphysema.

“The plaintiffs argued that the companies neglected to properly warn their customers about the dangers of smoking, and failed in their general duty “not to cause injury to another person”, according to the Quebec Superior Court.”

The article points out these actions were originally lodged in 1998 but only went to court recently.

Let me first of all say I am very sorry for anyone suffering from any of the above illnesses, but…… I am genuinely at a loss as to who would NOT have been aware of the links to cancer with smoking , or of the other dangers from this habit.

I am fifty-one and have always been told, since a very young age, to never start smoking and the issues around it. My father was a very heavy smoker and, long before I was born, wound up in hospital with breathing difficulties. The doctor told him then, in the 1950’s, either he quit smoking or his lungs would pack in within six months.

For people of my parents’ generation I can understand, folk now in their 80’s and 90’s, and perhaps some in their 70’s. But younger than that; how could anyone be unaware?

Back in the day, before the links to cancer were confirmed, smoking was promoted as a glamorous and sophisticated pastime with Hollywood leading the way; the images of its movie stars, cigarette in hand and a halo of smoke surrounding them, being the de-rigeur.

In my younger days I used to enjoy the odd cigarette myself, usually on a night out and having had a few drinks. But it was always one bad habit I knew I could never take up. There were just too many scare stories, too much evidence of the dangers, to justify the imagined benefits.

But my confusion continues on the point, “failed in their general duty, “not to cause injury to another person.”

If this is the case then why are cigarettes still being sold? Are the fast food giants going to be charged with this? Are the companies producing and selling alcohol going to be charged with this?

I do not smoke and I am no supporter of B.A.T or any other tobacco company, but every time I eat a burger, a bar of chocolate or drink a vodka and lime, I am absolutely aware of the health implications in continuing to be overweight and taking substances into my body with the potential to do me harm. This is my responsibility and I am not about to sue the various companies for my life choices.

It is all a game of russian roulette, but it’s my finger on the trigger for me.

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