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Manitoba to use tobacco suit windfall to fight cancer: Premier


A windfall from a lawsuit against big tobacco could see a major expansion to help cancer patients.

“Every single dollar is going to be spent fighting cancer, said Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew.

Kinew says his government has been told that the province is set to get up to half a billion dollars later this year, or next, from a settlement against tobacco companies - and there could be more in future years.

Manitoba filed the legal action in 2012 joining other provinces.

"We're getting clear enough signals about this that I think it's time Manitobans do hear the news that there are going to be dollars coming from these tobacco lawsuits,” said Kinew.

The premier says some of the money will be used to expand CancerCare Manitoba.

When CancerCare Manitoba opened in 2003, it was already full.

Plans for a new state of the art facility were put on hold by the former conservative government in 2017.

“So now we're obviously going to have to update that you can't just tell the same plans off the rack, so to speak, so we're going to want to spend a bit of time working with CancerCare Manitoba,” said the premier.

The Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance (MANTRA) says the funding amounts likely won't fully compensate for the harm smoking has caused over the decades.

"The reality is smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in our country. In fact it, causes almost 50,000 deaths a year,” said Cynthia Carr from MANTRA

However, the organization says this is an opportunity beyond a new CancerCare building. It says more prevention measures are needed.

"To stop access to tobacco products, vaping products, and vaping is certainly a significant health issue among are youth,” Carr said.

The Premier says some of the money will be earmarked for prevention.

"We're taking some action already bringing in the vape tax is one example. We'll definitely be there to have the conversation about further steps we should take,” said Kinew. Top Stories

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