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Light Cigarettes

This class action was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on behalf British Columbians who purchased so-called “light” and “mild” cigarettes sold by Imperial Tobacco.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendant, Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, engaged in “deceptive trade practices” contrary to the Trade Practices Act in the marketing of its light cigarette brands.

The suit was certified as a class action by the BC Supreme Court to include the following in the class:

Persons who, during the Class Period, purchased the Defendant’s light or mild brands of cigarettes in British Columbia for personal, family or household use. The Defendant’s light and mild brands of cigarettes includes the following brands: Player’s Light, Player’s Light Smooth, Player’s Extra Light, du Maurier Light, du Maurier Extra Light, du Maurier Ultra Light, du Maurier Special Mild, Matinee Extra Mild, Matinee Ultra Mild and Cameo Extra Mild.

The B.C. Court of Appeal affirmed the certification of the lawsuit as a class action but reduced the class period. The class period now starts at May 8, 1997 and runs to the opt out date.

The lawsuit, the first of its kind in Canada, comes in the wake of a $10.1 billion judgment against American tobacco giant, Philip Morris, in a light cigarette class action trial in that country.

The suit was filed by Kenneth Knight of Roberts Creek, British Columbia. He purchased and consumed approximately one and a half packs a day of the Defendant’s light cigarettes for approximately 17 years. Ken is the husband of Heather Mackenzie, the executive director of AirSpace, an advocacy group dedicated to making the tobacco industry a health hazard of the past (

David Klein, lawyer for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit explains,

“The courts exist to protect the public and to punish corporate misconduct. Our clients’ goals in filing this class action are to support Health Canada’s efforts and to hold Imperial Tobacco accountable for its actions.”

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