UK Government could be required to recover health care costs from tobacco companies

Tuesday 11 May 1999

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Press releaseEmbargo: 0.01

11th May 1999

Action on Smoking
and Health

UK Government could be required to recover health care costs from tobacco companies

An amendment to the Health Bill, which iscurrently going through Parliament, would make it a duty of the Secretary of State forHealth to recover the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses from tobaccomanufacturers. If passed, the amendment would pave the way for a resurgence of legalclaims against tobacco companies for the harm caused by smoking.

ASH Director, Clive Bates, said: “<fontface=”times, times=”” new=”” roman”=””>We urge the Government to support this amendment. If theAmerican tobacco companies can be forced to pay for the costs of treating people harmed bysmoking, then there is no reason why such a similar measure cannot be adopted here in theUK since the law of tort is similar in both countries.”

The amendment, which is to be debated inCommittee today, is one of four being tabled by Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP forLichfield. The other amendments relate to the cost-effectiveness of treatment provided bythe NHS.

There would also be a requirement for the NHSto carry out a cost-benefit analysis of preventative treatments such as NRT compared withthe cost of treating heart and lung disorders arising from smoking. Mr Fabricantcommented: “It is clear that providingmeasures such as NRT would be many times cheaper than treating heart disease and cancer;my amendment to the Bill would prove the point.”



Contact Clive Bates, ASH Director (020) 7739 5902
Michael Fabricant MP pager 01426 801602

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