Help us Stop Big Tobacco

Your help is needed to hold the tobacco industry accountable for decades of wrongdoing. 

For the last few years, the largest lawsuits in Canadian history have been quietly unfolding. Provincial governments have collectively filed lawsuits against tobacco companies seeking more than $500 billion in damages for healthcare costs. To learn more about why this matters and how people can help, we sat down with Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). 

Q: What are these negotiations about? 

A: Right now, the tobacco industry is negotiating behind closed doors with all 10 provincial governments to settle multi-billion dollar lawsuits seeking to recover healthcare costs caused by tobacco company wrongdoing. The lawsuits, collectively seeking more than $500 billion in damages, are the largest in Canadian history. 

Q: How will these negotiations impact people with cancer? 

A: The tobacco industry — over a period of decades — has engaged in wrongful behaviour that has caused overwhelming damage to the lives of people in Canada and our healthcare system. Tobacco companies have advertised to teenagers, marketed to women with images of slimness and fashion, concealed internal research, failed to adequately warn consumers, used public relations campaigns to deny the health effects, disseminated misleading advertising and more. 

The result? Consumers became addicted to deadly products. Tobacco use kills almost 48,000 Canadians every year, including about 30% of cancer deaths, and is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada. But now, with settlement negotiations underway and billions of dollars on the line, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the damage it has done, and to adopt measures to reduce tobacco use.  

Q: How is CCS taking action? 

A: We’re calling on provinces to ensure that at least 10% of settlement proceeds be allocated to a fund independent of government to carry out tobacco control initiatives. We’re also advocating for additional measures in any settlement, such as ending all tobacco promotion, public disclosure of all secret internal company documents, restricting industry lobbying, reforming the structure of the industry, and more. Basically, we want to Stop Big Tobacco. 

Q: What can I do to help? 

A: Your help is needed and it takes just 30 seconds. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hold the tobacco industry accountable. Join us by sending an email to your elected officials at Every email sent helps in the fight against the tobacco industry.