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Imperial Tobacco being sued for ignoring fire-safe cigarettes

Three people in Canada died in a house fire that was started by a cigarette. The youngest was just three years old, the next was 15 and the oldest was 16. The allegation is that the 16-year-old had been smoking a cigarette that was made by Imperial Tobacco Canada when he fell asleep. The still burning cigarette then caused the fire and took their lives.

Now, a lawsuit has been launched because it appears that Imperial Tobacco had considered making special, fire-safe cigarettes that were designed to stop exactly this type of situation. They reportedly did the research, but then they suppressed the data and decided not to make them.

Since they chose to ignore the safer option, they're being sued for making a dangerous product when they knew there was a danger, knew how to remove that danger, and decided not to do so.

It's been said that the reason cigarette companies don't like these fire-safe designs is financial. If someone forgets about a cigarette and it goes out, that person can easily light it back up once again, which could not be done with non-fire-safe designs. This means they wouldn't have to light a new one and would therefore go through fewer cigarettes, meaning they would not buy as many.

This case is complicated, but it's important for all Canadians who have lost loved ones in the same way to keep an eye on how it plays out in the court system. If it is shown that the company intentionally made an unsafe product, the families of those who passed away could be entitled to compensation.

Source: Rochon Genova, "Tobacco Lawsuit Given Green Light," accessed May 19, 2016

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