Legislation that would allow Nova Scotia to attempt to recover millions of dollars in health-care costs for tobacco-related illnesses, was introduced today, Oct. 13, by Justice Minister Michael Baker. The Tobacco Damages and Health-care Costs Recovery Act is similar to legislation in British Columbia, which was recently declared constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. All nine justices sided with British Columbia against an appeal launched by the tobacco industry. “This legislation is all about holding the industry accountable for the huge sums of taxpayer dollars spent to fight lung cancer and related illnesses,” said Mr. Baker. “More than 1,600 Nova Scotians die each year from smoking-related illnesses, another 200 from second-hand smoke. The tobacco industry must bear financial responsibility for that devastation.” Mr. Baker said it costs $170 million a year in direct medical costs to treat smoking-related illnesses. He added that the proposed legislation supports the province’s strategy to decrease the number of youths and adults who smoke. “Going after big tobacco companies is the logical next step,” said Mr. Baker. “It supports what we’ve done with tobacco taxes, the Smoke-Free Places Act, award-winning advertising and community treatment and cessation programs.” The province will assign a team of lawyers to prepare a case that would form the basis of any future legal action.