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Smokers to sue ‘freeloading’ passive smokers

[Edition 35] MELBOURNE, Wednesday: Several smokers’ groups have announced that they will launch lawsuits against passive smokers who seek worker’s compensation claims. The smoking groups will seek compensation from those who are found to have benefited from passive smoking without paying for cigarettes. Bar workers who can not show that their own cigarette purchases caused their emphysema or lung cancer will be asked to contribute to the cigarette costs of the bar patrons who do smoke.

New signs warning non-smokers not to steal smokers’ smoke.

[Edition 35] MELBOURNE, Wednesday: Several smokers’ groups have announced that they will launch lawsuits against passive smokers who seek worker’s compensation claims. The coalition of smoker’s rights groups, including Australians Living With Emphysema, ‘Puffing and Proud’ and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands Tobacco, Alcohol, Unleaded Fuels and Solvents Consumer’s Association, described the recent lawsuit launched by a female worker at Port Kembla RSL as “the last straw”. The woman, Mrs Marlene Sharp, is seeking compensation in relation to her claim that she contracted throat cancer after exposure to tobacco smoke at work.

“The evidence was that she had been diagnosed with throat cancer, which you get from smoking, and yet she had never smoked a cigarette,” said the group. The smoking groups will seek compensation from those who are found to have benefited from passive smoking without paying for cigarettes. Bar workers who can not show that their own cigarette purchases caused their emphysema or lung cancer will be asked to contribute to the cigarette costs of the bar patrons who do smoke.

“She had been freeloading on the back of honest hardworking cigarette buyers,” said the group . “It is the smokers who fund the industry. It is smokers who bear the social stigma. It is the smokers who carry on, day after day, year after year, with lungs of pus and hearts that have the fat content of a battered sav. How can this woman ask to benefit from a tobacco-caused illness without bearing the cost of the cigarettes that gave her that illness?”

The chairman of Phillip Morris, Australia’s largest cigarette supplier, denied any link to the lawsuits, although he did admit that the cigarette companies were pleased by the lawsuit, which he saw as “progressing the cause of personal liberty, which is something that we strongly support.” “We believe strongly in personal freedom, particularly the freedom to smoke cigarettes. We also believe in the freedom to buy cigarettes, to advertise cigarettes, to place cigarettes in television and films in return for money, the freedom to put cigarette vending machines on university campuses, schools, and the freedom to decorate those vending machines with the same colour schemes and marketing style that Lego uses to sell Duplo. Actually, it’s only the freedom to stop smoking cigarettes that we really have a problem with.”

Smokers at the Port Kembla RSL where Mrs Sharp worked were furious at her claims for compensation. “It’s like winning at the pokies when someone else put the dollar coin in the slot,” one said. “This woman has got to be stopped, although I suppose if our claim fails the cancer will probably do that for us before too long.”