Dutch prosecutors are set to announce Thursday whether they will open a criminal investigation into four major tobacco companies on charges including attempted murder or manslaughter.
Amsterdam lawyer Benedicte Ficq filed a criminal complaint in 2016 seeking a prosecution. Hospitals, doctors and other groups have since joined the call.
An Amsterdam hospital that is among those calling for a prosecution said 55 people die each day in the Netherlands as a result of smoking.
Mr Ficq has called for the prosecution of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Benelux.
The Dutch association of cigarette and tobacco makers has labelled the call for prosecution a publicity stunt and said it is confident that “the sale of a legal, heavily regulated product is not a crime in the Netherlands”.