Canadian giants Rothmans Benson Hedges Inc. and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. decided to cut their losses and agreed to pay $ 1-billion in fines and settlement costs, admitting they cooperated with smugglers in the early 1990s. Basically, they sold cigarettes to smugglers selling their products without charging taxes, thus developing their future consumer base.
I just saw anti-tobacco crusader Rob Cunningham making sure on CTV Newsnet people understand how deliberate and dishonest the companies have been in their shady dealings. The PR damage from this settlement might exceed by far the monetary cost.
Cunningham wrote a fascinating book on the fight against Big Tobacco a few years back – Smoke & Mirrors: the Canadian Tobacco War. Excellent Summer reading for all flacks out there.