29 April 2016
A Dutch lawyer and lung cancer patient are planning to take tobacco companies to court for for producing cigarettes designed to turn people into addicts as quickly as possible.
Lawyer Benedicte Ficq and cancer victim Anne Marie van Veen are putting together a criminal case against cigarette producers, arguing that out of court settlements do not go far enough.
‘I want to see tobacco firms prosecuted for deliberately damaging people’s health,’ Ficq told television programme RTL Late Night.
Tobacco firms cannot hide behind the freedom of choice of people to smoke because they are deliberately influencing smokers’ behaviour, Ficq and Van Veen argue.
‘To limit that freedom, addictive chemicals such as nicotine and other additives are put into cigarettes,’ they say. ‘And [the companies] overcome our natural aversion to poisons by adding substances like menthol.’
Nor does the argument that the government does not ban smoking hold water, Ficq said. ‘If I fed my children rat poison every day and they eventually die, I would be prosecuted for murder,’ she said. ‘The tobacco industry is simply getting away with it.’
Ficq and Van Veen are appealing for other people to sign up to their campaign.