Recovery of health-care costs
One of the most spectacular developments of the last few years has been an unprecedented wave of lawsuits against the tobacco industry. Though suits by individual smokers (or their bereaved families) have been a fact of life for tobacco companies for several decades, the 1990s saw the emergence of a new kind of lawsuit, filed by governments or other providers of health insurance, to recover the costs of treating smoking-induced disease. This type of litigation, which started in the United States, has now spread around the globe. British Columbia is preparing its own suit, and several other provinces have shown an interest in following their example.
But litigation is not the only course open to governments. There are a host of other options, including creative new types of taxation.