Saudi govt. files lawsuit against tobacco agents

For the first time, Saudi Arabia is about to witness its first lawsuit by the Ministry of Health against agents of international tobacco companies in the Kingdom of Jeddah.

The minister had met with representatives of tobacco companies in the Kingdom and informed them of the ministry’s plan to file a lawsuit.The ministry demands a compensation of SR10 billion and an annual compensation of SR500 million for the expenditures incurred on the treatment of smokers.

In a previous statement on the issue, Health Minister Hamad Al-Manie said he was confident that his ministry would win the lawsuit since it provided statistics and medical data that showed how smoking destroys people’s health and eats away at social spending connected with smoking-related medical treatment of citizens.

An official statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, said,

“This is the first case filed by the ministry against agents of tobacco companies, demanding compensation for medical care. The court was ready to look into the case at a previous date but the tobacco agents did not attend that session.”

A new law to combat smoking in public and workplaces has been drafted and is awaiting Cabinet approval. The law is significant as Saudi Arabia tops the list of tobacco importers, according to 2007 statistics. Iran is placed second, followed by Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt.

Source:arab news

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