The Hague (AFP) - Dutch prosecutors Thursday threw out a complaint seeking to bring charges of attempted murder against four big tobacco companies, saying there was no chance of a "successful prosecution".
"Smoking is deadly and the design of cigarettes contributes to this. But the public prosecution does not think tobacco companies are breaking any laws and regulations," the service said in a statement.
Therefore prosecutors "will not investigate any further," it added.
The case was filed in September 2016 by Dutch criminal lawyer Benedicte Ficq accusing tobacco manufacturers "of attempted murder and manslaughter and/or premeditated attempts to cause grievous bodily harm."
In her 30-page complaint to the prosecution service, Ficq argued "the tobacco industry knowingly and intentionally makes cigarettes more addictive by adding hundreds of substances."
She launched the case on behalf of two ex-smokers and set up a website site sickofsmoking.nl to gather support to drag the four companies -- Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Benelux -- before the Dutch courts.
Several other organisations also have joined the action, including Dutch doctors' associations.
The prosecutors' decision was welcomed by the tobacco companies, the Dutch news agency ANP said. But Ficq told public broadcaster NOS that she intended to appeal it before the courts.