Brazil sues tobacco companies to recover public health costs

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s Attorney General’s Office is suing multinational tobacco companies to recover costs by the public health care system in treating smoking-related illnesses.

The suit, filed against British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International on Tuesday, seeks to recover costs spent treating 26 diseases with scientifically proven links to tobacco usage in the last five years.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says the case is historic and the first of its kind in Latin America.

David Bressler is a coordinator from a regional prosecutor’s office. He says that “since the profit of this business is sent abroad, it’s more than fair that these multinationals pay the burden they are leaving with Brazilian society.”

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Similar lawsuits in the US and Canada have forced tobacco companies to pay billions for health damages.

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