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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 13:19 GMT
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan file US cigarette suit

Two Central Asian nations, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are suing the United States tobacco industry for the cost of smoking-related illnesses.

The case has been filed in Miami-Dade county in the state of Florida.

The Associated Press news agency said the two countries were seeking hundreds of millions of dollars to cover the amount spent treating diseases related to smoking.

A lawyer representing both countries, Sonny Holtzman, said they believed Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan had been intentionally targeted by the tobacco companies because they were developing nations where most people are poor, uneducated and unaware of the dangers of nicotine addiction. The defendants include Philip Morris Inc. and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

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