Case against tobacco industry being prepared


Not long ago we were contacted by a new client, Anne Marie van Veen (42 years old, mother of four), with a request to look into the possibility of making a case against the tobacco industry.


Anne Marie van Veen has smoked since early childhood and has only recently stopped after being diagnosed with lung cancer. She wishes to prevent hers and other children from also falling prey to the tobacco industry. After seeing the documentary ‘De Vervangers’ (‘The Replacement smokers), which clearly demonstrates how the tobacco industry sees young children as replacements for smokers who die young, she was resolute: They’re not getting their hands on my children.

This evening, during the television show RTL Late Night, attorney Bénédicte Ficq LL.M will announce that the case being made focuses on proving the infliction of grievous bodily harm, an attempt to inflict such harm, or the intentional endangerment of people’s health. In the near future, the charges will be finalised and submitted to the Public Prosecution Service with a request to prosecute. Because the tobacco industry makes and markets cigarettes that are designed to make the consumer addicted as quickly as possible, and then, further, to cause harm to the then-addicted smoker’s health, it is our contention that the tobacco industry is possibly guilty of a criminal offence.


We believe that the fact that the addicted smoker chooses to smoke cigarettes does not justify the acts of the tobacco industry. The addicted smoker’s freedom of choice has been influenced by the addition of addictive substances (nicotine and additives) to cigarettes, with the intention of limiting that freedom of choice. This is unacceptable on all accounts, but perhaps even more so when it is children and young adults that are targeted.


We believe further that the fact the government has not banned the production and sale of cigarettes does not justify the acts of the tobacco industry. Purposefully and premeditatedly causing grievous bodily harm or endangering a person’s health is illegal according to the Penal Code. The fact that the government hasn’t made the production and sale of cigarettes illegal is, in our opinion, not relevant grounds to not consider this a criminal act.


Besides this lawsuit, Anne Marie van Veen wants to start a movement to collectively protest against the practices of the tobacco industry. The website is available to anyone who is literally or figuratively sick of, or from, smoking. On tonight’s broadcast of RTL Late Night, Anne Marie submits an emotional plea: Join me in this fight and make it our fight. Take action!


For more information and/or an interview about the intended case, please contact Bénédicte Ficq LL.M (+31 020 6166676).


For more information, requests for footage or imagery, or an interview about Sick of Smoking, please contact Petri Rouwenhorst (+31 06 247 784 76) | |


Amsterdam, 28 April 2016