Israelis file $4.2 billion anti-tobacco lawsuit
Five Israeli smokers filed a 17 billion shekel ($4.2 billion) suit in Tel Aviv District Court against several tobacco companies, the Ha'aretz newspaper said on Tuesday.
Among the companies named were Israel's leading manufacturer of cigarettes Dubek Ltd as well as Philip Morris Inc, and British American Tobacco Plc.
Dubek said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that it had not yet received notice of the suit but denied all the allegations as published in the newspaper. Dubek said it would respond after receiving an official notice of the suit. A spokeswoman for BAT in London said ``We have not received a copy of the application yet. So it is very difficult to comment any further.'' No comment was immediately available from Philip Morris.
Ha'aretz said the claimants requested their suit be considered a class action on behalf of cigarette smokers in general. The five said the tobacco companies misled consumers for many years about the addictive nature of nicotine. They also maintained that the companies developed products in tests conducted on the human body that would have even stronger addictive effects, the newspaper said.
The claimants are seeking compensatory damages including the cost of purchasing their products and the cost of programmes to quit smoking for all cigarette smokers in Israel, estimated at about 26 percent of the population, Ha'aretz said.