Three tobacco companies have been ordered to pay C$15.5 billion ($12 billion) in damages in Canada.
It the largest award for damages in Canada’s history.
The plaintiffs were Quebec smokers who said the companies failed to warn them of health risks associated with smoking.
Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald vowed to appeal against the decision.
The class-action lawsuits were filed in 1998, but only recently went to trial in the courts.
The companies argued that Canadians have had a “high awareness” of smoking health risks since the 1950s.
The director of Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, an anti-smoking lobby group, Mario Bujold, said it had been “a long process” but it was a “big victory for the victims and against the tobacco companies”.
JTI-Macdonald said in a statement: “That awareness has been reinforced by the health warnings printed on every legal cigarette package for more than 40 years.”
However, the plaintiffs argued that the companies did not properly warn their customers and failed in their general duty “not to cause injury to another person”, according to the Quebec Superior Court decision.
They represent nearly one million smokers who were unable to quit or who suffer from throat or lung cancer, or emphysema.
Explaining his ruling, Judge Brian Riordan said: “The companies earned billions of dollars at the expense of the lungs, the throats and the general well-being of their customers.
“If the companies are allowed to walk away unscathed now, what would be the message to other industries that today or tomorrow find themselves in a similar moral conflict?”
According to multiple reports Julia Robert’s mother, Betty Lou Bredemus, has died from lung cancer at the age of 80.
Betty Lou Bredemus died in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 19.
Photo Getty Images
She was the mother of four children – Eric Roberts, 58; Julia, 47; Lisa Gillan, 49, and Nancy Motes, who died last year at age 37. She was also the grandmother of actress Emma Roberts, Eric’s daughter, along with Julia’s children – twins Phinnaeus and Hazel, both 10, and Henry, 7.
Betty Lou Bredemus had once run an acting school in Smyrna, Georgia.
Julia Roberts was in Los Angles filming The Secret in Their Eyes when he mother passed.
It’s My Party singer Lesley Gore has died from lung cancer aged 68.
Lesley Gore’s partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, confirmed the singer-songwriter had died at a New York City hospital. .
The singer was only 1-year-old when she topped the US charts with It’s My Party.
Lesley Gore’s hits include feminist anthem You Don’t Own Me and the Oscar-nominated Out Here On My Own from 1980 film Fame.
“She was a wonderful human being – caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian,” Lois Sasson told the Associated Press.
Lesley Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records, before going on to record tracks including Judy’s Turn to Cry, She’s A Fool, Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, That’s the Way Boys Are and Maybe I Know.
In 2005, she released comeback album Ever Since, her first album in 30 years and in an interview that year said that unlike Hollywood, the music industry has “always been a man’s world.”
However, Lesley Gore credited Quincy Jones as a “great mentor” saying that he was “a very sensitive man and a beautiful human being.”
Lesley Gore was born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey and had graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English/American literature.
A new study has suggested that most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking.
The US research team was trying to explain why some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to cancer than others.
The results, in the journal Science, showed two thirds of the cancer types analyzed were caused just by chance mutations rather than lifestyle.
However some of the most common and deadly cancers are still heavily influenced by lifestyle.
In the US, 6.9% of people develop lung cancer, 0.6% brain cancer and 0.00072% get tumors in their laryngeal cartilage at some point in their lifetime.
Toxins from cigarette smoke could explain why lung cancer is more common.
However, the digestive system is exposed to more environmental toxins than the brain, yet brain tumors are three times as common as those in the small intestine.
The team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health believe the way tissues regenerate is the answer.
Old tired cells in the body are constantly being replaced with new ones made by dividing stem cells.
But with each division comes the risk of a dangerous mutation that moves the stem cell one step closer to being cancerous.
The pace of turnover varies throughout the body with rapid turnover in the lining of the gut and a slower pace in the brain.
The researchers compared how often stem cells divided in 31 tissues in the body over a lifetime with the odds of a cancer in those tissues.
They concluded that two thirds of cancer types were “due to bad luck” from dividing stem cells picking up mutations that could not be prevented.
These cancer types included Glioblastoma (brain cancers), small intestine cancers and pancreatic cancers.
Cristian Tomasetti, an assistant professor of oncology and one of the researchers, said a focus on prevention would not prevent such cancers.
“If two thirds of cancer incidence across tissues is explained by random DNA mutations that occur when stem cells divide, then changing our lifestyle and habits will be a huge help in preventing certain cancers, but this may not be as effective for a variety of others.
“We should focus more resources on finding ways to detect such cancers at early, curable stages.”
The remaining third of cancer types, which are affected by lifestyle factors, viruses or a heightened family risk, include some of the most common:
Basal cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer made more common by too much UV exposure
Lung cancer – strongly linked to smoking
Colon cancer – increased by poor diet and family risk genes
Two common types of cancer – breast and prostate – were not analyzed as the researchers could not find a consistent rate of stem cell division in those tissues.
Reg Presley, frontman of 60s British rock band The Troggs, has died from lung cancer at the age of 71.
Reg Presley died at his home in Hampshire surrounded by his family, his daughter Karen said.
The Troggs had a number of hit songs, including Wild Thing and Love Is All Around, which was covered in the 1990s with huge success by Wet Wet Wet.
Reg Presley had announced his retirement from music a year ago after being taken ill during a concert in Germany and being diagnosed with lung cancer.
In January 2012, in a letter to fans posted on his band’s website, Reg Presley had said: “As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer.
“I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad.
“However I’ve had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years.”
Reg Presley, frontman of 60s British rock band The Troggs, has died from lung cancer at the age of 71
Reg Presley was born in Andover, Hampshire, and founded The Troggs in the early 1960s.
The band’s other hits included With A Girl Like You and I Can’t Control Myself.
The 1967 hit Love Is All Around became a hit song again 27 years later when a cover version by Scottish band Wet Wet Wet remained at number one in the UK for 15 weeks.
The success of the Wet Wet Wet version, which featured on the soundtrack of the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral, allowed Reg Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs.
Reg Presley published a book, Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, about the paranormal in 2002.