|South Australia is pushing for tobacco companies to compensate governments for the health costs. |
Jump to full article: Adelaide Now -- The Advertiser and Sunday Mail (au), 2012-04-29
Author: by: Andrew Dowdell From: Sunday Mail (SA) April 28, 2012 10:00pm
SOUTH Australia is spearheading a push to recoup billions of dollars spent on caring for sick smokers.
Health Minister John Hill put the proposal to a Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra on Friday and said he had received a positive response.
Mr Hill said Australia was well placed to force tobacco companies to compensate governments for the health costs associated with smoking over many decades.
A similar class action in the US led to the major firms agreeing to the 1997 US Master Settlement Agreement, in which tobacco companies agreed to pay up to $200 billion compensation to states over 30 years.
"I raised it with the other Ministers and we agreed that we would ask the Commonwealth to investigate a similar scheme here," Mr Hill said.
"It costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year to look after smokers and it is a cost that is completely preventable, and I think we should be able to make a case in Australia, similar to the case in the US, where tobacco companies were forced to pay compensation to the states."
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