Alberta to sue tobacco manufacturers

The Alberta government has announced plans to file suit against tobacco manufacturers to recoup $10 billion it estimates it spent treating Albertans’ tobacco-related illnesses.

Health Minister Fred Horne said in a May 30 press release that diseases associated with tobacco use are responsible for the deaths of 3000 Albertans every year.

Health spokesperson Bart Johnson was unable to say which tobacco companies are being sued but did say the lawsuit has been "in the works" since 2010.

"We’ve had a law firm on board for a year now and… we’re in a position where we can file a statement of claim and we’ll do that in the next two weeks" says Johnson.

The province is joining ranks and is expected to collaborate to some degree with BC New Brunswick Newfoundland and Ontario which have also filed similar suits. The Alberta government says Saskatchewan Manitoba Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island and Quebec are expected to file suits in the near future.

Alberta retained Tobacco Recovery Lawyers LLP in June 2011 on a contingency basis to pursue this case.