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British American Tobacco battered by smokers’ £6 billion court damages victory in Canada

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Shares in cigarettes giant British American Tobacco took a knock today after Canada’s Court of Appeal ruled it will have to cough up £6 billion in damages to a group of Quebec smokers.

British American Tobacco had appealed a 2015 Quebec Superior Court ruling to award damages to some 100,000 Quebec smokers.

They alleged the company’s subsidiary Imperial Tobacco Canada knew since the 1950s that its product was causing cancer and failed to warn consumers adequately.

BAT said that its subsidiary would now review the court’s decision in more detail and decide on the next steps.

The lawsuits were originally filed by the smokers against three tobacco manufacturers in 1998.

The other companies involved are Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris International.

BAT argues that the class action has been made by smokers who had long been aware of the risks.

BAT’s stock was down 39p to 2824p, while rival Imperial Brands lost 10p to 2541p.

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