MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Spaniards who lost their voices to throat cancer after years of smoking plan a series of class-action lawsuits against tobacco companies, including the Spanish affiliates of U.S. giants R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, attorneys and activists said Friday.
Starting Wednesday, associations representing 4,300 cancer patients will file separate suits in 14 Spanish cities in a bid to win damages totaling about $22 million.
That's a minuscule fraction of the $145 billion that Florida smokers were awarded in July in a landmark ruling against major U.S. cigarette makers, including R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris.
The Spaniards want compensation for a very specific purpose: To fund rehabilitation centers where cancer victims whose larynxes were removed can receive psychological counseling and learn to speak again.
"We are not interested in money. What we want are services," said Jose Angel Manoso, a lawyer for 650 plaintiffs in Barcelona.
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