Saudi Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Tobacco Firms

A Saudi court has dismissed an $8-million lawsuit filed against tobacco companies by a cancer-sufferer who blamed smoking for his damaged health, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Al-Hayat said the General Court in Jeddah on Monday dismissed the legal action against tobacco distributing companies in Saudi Arabia and denied the plaintiff his claim of 30 million riyals (around $8 million) compensation.

The court said the man, identified as Ali Assiri, had decided to take up smoking despite being fully aware of its side effects, the Saudi daily said.

Such cases are used to pressure large companies in an attempt to obtain money illegally, the paper quoted the companies' lawyer, Tareq al-Shami, as saying.

Assiri's throat had been "fully eradicated" by a cancer tumor which doctors said was caused by smoking, the daily reported.

Saudi Arabia does not have a general smoking ban in public places, and people smoke freely in government offices.

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