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Finnish police reject preliminary investigation into tobacco industry's "light cigarettes"

Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation has decided not to launch a preliminary investigation into tobacco firms for selling so-called light cigarettes. A group of more than 33 medical and legal experts has called for a probe into suspected aggravated abuse and even murder by companies marketing the tobacco products as a healthier alternative to regular smokes.

nainen polttaa tupakkaa
Image: AOP

The National Bureau of Investigation NBI said Friday that it will not begin a preliminary investigation into tobacco firms based on a formal request by dozens of medical and legal experts.

Last week, the group wrote asking police to consider investigating cigarette companies that marketed and sold so-called "light cigarettes" to smokers. In the letter, the specialists asked investigators to consider whether the tobacco companies committed aggravated abuse and murder for selling the products.

In a statement put out Friday, the NBI said that neither previous case law nor the provisions of the Preliminary Investigation Act justified an investigation.

NBI: Previous rulings say tobacco firms not liable

According to police, tobacco firms’ liability for smokers’ illnesses was previously dealt with in several courts. The NBI noted that final judgments still standing have ruled that tobacco companies were not guilty of gross negligence and were nor strictly liable for the illness of complainants.

The investigative body also said that the request for an investigation did not specify the individuals suspected of committing the alleged offences. It added that based on the request there was no reason to suspect a crime or crimes and that an investigation would not be launched as a result.

The letter co-signed by Professor Erkki Aurejärvi and a group of more than 30 legal and medical experts estimated that light cigarettes have been responsible for the deaths of roughly 60,000 people in Finland.

The letter calling for the investigation also referenced official testimony from previous legal proceedings, which stated that consumers “had quickly embraced the idea that light cigarettes were a healthier alternative.”

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