ASH worked with Sick of Smoking on this video to highlight a Dutch criminal complaint against the tobacco industry for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, inflicting and attempting severe physical harm and deliberately harming health.
“I cannot understand that when you hit someone with a hammer, you are being prosecuted for serious harm. Or when you administer poison, you are prosecuted for poisoning. But the tobacco industry is left untouched while ultimately doing the same,” said the filing Dutch Criminal Lawyer Bénédicte Ficq.
Tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills its consumers when used as intended. Cigarettes are also highly addictive, trapping users in a deadly addiction that many struggle to overcome.
The Oregon Supreme Court has said that the deceptive promotion of tobacco products could “constitute at least second-degree manslaughter.” The lethal consequences of smoking have been known to tobacco corporations for decades, yet they continue these activities, with full knowledge that millions of deaths will be caused by the ordinary use of cigarettes.
The tobacco industry has repeatedly been held civilly liable, but there has not been any movement in criminal court, yet.
“A U.S. State Attorney General or a District Attorney could decide to file criminal charges against a tobacco company for deaths the tobacco companies have caused. At this point, we are just lacking the political courage to see a criminal case through,” said ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber.
ASH has been researching the criminal liability and potential human rights violations of the tobacco industry for years. Criminal charges are feasible and legally sound. The Dutch case can pave the way for other countries to take similar action.