Quebec appeals court upholds landmark tobacco ruling

The Quebec Court of Appeal has upheld a landmark judgment that ordered three tobacco companies to pay billions of dollars in damages to Quebec smokers.

Imperial Tobacco, JTI-Macdonald and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges had appealed a ruling that found the companies chose profits over the health of their customers.

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Philippe Trudel, a lawyer for smokers who brought the class action, called Friday's appellate court decision a complete victory for victims.

In June 2015, Quebec Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan ordered the companies to make payments of more than $15 billion Canadian (US$11 billion) to smokers who either fell ill or were addicted. At the time, the ruling was believed to be the biggest class action award in Canadian history.

The three companies argued their customers knew the risks of smoking.