Over 1,000 Dutch cancer patients and smoking addicts have signed up to support a criminal damages claim against the tobacco industry, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.
The Sick of Smoking foundation was formed in April this year to put together a class action campaign against the industry on behalf of patients. The aim is not to win damages, but to ensure ‘the tobacco industry really starts behaving differently,’ the FD said.
The campaign was launched by lawyer Bénédicte Ficq and lung cancer victim Anne Marie van Veen. They argue that tobacco firms cannot hide behind the freedom of choice of people to smoke because they are deliberately influencing smokers’ behaviour.
‘To limit that freedom, addictive chemicals such as nicotine and other additives are put into cigarettes,’ they say. ‘And [the companies] overcome our natural aversion to poisons by adding substances like menthol.’
On Thursday lawyer Ficq will make three formal police complaints; one on behalf of Van Veen, one for a COPD patient and one on behalf of an addict. Their cases will act as the basic complaints for those of 1,066 other people who have come forward to support the campaign.
The FD says Ficq is being advised by tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand.