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ASH asking for criminal charges

13 Nov 2017. Public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is asking the director of public prosecutions to allow tobacco companies to face criminal charges, The Times reported.

In what the newspaper referred to as a “new front against smoking”, ASH is reportedly requesting the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to bring charges or to allow private prosecutions against tobacco companies for their role in smoking-related illness and deaths.

The development follows charges filed with the public prosecutor in the Netherlands by lawyers acting for patients suffering smoking-related illness and a youth smoking prevention foundation.

The Times reported that similar cases are being worked on by activists in nine countries.

ASH Chief Executive Officer Deborah Arnott said: “In the light of the Dutch action, we are assessing the feasibility of pressing the DPP to prosecute BAT [British American Tobacco], Philip Morris [International], Imperial Brands and JTI, or to win permission for a private prosecution. The lesson from the Netherlands is that the prospect of criminal charges has had a sensational impact. Smokers have been angry to find out low tar cigarettes are no healthier, because smokers inhale more tar and nicotine from low tar cigarettes than the tests show. Sick smokers have come forward in their thousands to take action against the industry.”