" --IANS"
Sydney, Nov 20 - Leading Australian experts have called on the country's governments to hold tobacco companies accountable for damage done to people's health by taking them to court, a media report said.

In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia, public health experts from Macquarie University and Curtin University called on state and federal governments to seek remuneration from tobacco companies for the burden put on the public health system by smoking-related illnesses, Xinhua news agency reported.

Led by Macquarie University Health Studies lecturer Ross Mackenzie, the authors said that Australia could use Canada, where the province of British Columbia's right to sue the tobacco industry was upheld by the Supreme Court, as a precedent.

An estimated 2.6 million adult Australians were smokers in 2014, and smoking remains the country's leading preventable cause of death and disease, they wrote.

It causes 15, 000 deaths annually and is likely to kill two-thirds of current users. Annual health, social and economic costs of smoking were estimated at more than $31.5 billion in 2008, and are now considered to be substantially greater.

Mackenzie and colleagues said there were lessons to be learnt from the Canadian experience.

--IANS

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