Commenting on the judgement announced by the Right Hon Lord Nimmo Smith on the case of Mrs Margaret McTear against Imperial Tobacco Limited today (Tuesday 31 May 2005), Dr Bill O'Neill, Scottish Secretary of the British Medical Association (BMA), said:

"We pay tribute to Mrs McTear for her courage and determination in taking this case forward. This judgment is very disappointing for her but also for all those harmed by the effects of tobacco and for the medical profession and those who campaign to protect people from the harmful effects of smoking."

Dr Charles Saunders, chairman of BMA Scotland's Public Health Committee, said:

"We will need to consider the detail and implications of this judgement, but we should not let it cloud the issue - the evidence is clear: smoking kills. No amount of tobacco company spin can cover up the fact that smoking related illness causes 13,000 deaths each year in Scotland.

"The judgment acknowledges that tobacco is addictive. The challenge continues; we must offer effective support to those who are addicted.

"It's high time that the tobacco companies stopped blaming individual smokers for their illness. The true cost of smoking is not financial, it is human. While families are left to pick up the pieces; tobacco company directors and shareholders pick up their profits.

"The medical evidence is extremely clear - eight in every 10 deaths from lung cancer are caused by smoking. How many more smokers will have to pay the ultimate price to line tobacco industry's pockets?"

The full judgement on the McTear case is available on the Scottish Courts website at this location: scotcourts/opinions/2005CSOH69.html

bma/scotland

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