Health Editor’s Note: Did you know that in 1998 big tobacco was ordered to pay $206 billion to states over a 25 year period? This money was a penalty for the obnoxiously unhealthy, potentially killer aspects of smoking and was to be used for cancer research and tobacco control. The settlement was supposed to give a life line to those addicted and harmed by tobacco. But the decision of the states was to use less than three percent of this penalty money to fund cancer research and tobacco control and one (North Carolina) used 75% to fund tobacco production. Fox watching the hen house? Fox robbing the hen house?. Can stealing get more blatant or shocking than this? ….Carol
Tobacco Master Settlement at Twenty Years
Just Five Years Left in Big Tobacco’s Payouts
Written by Crystal Phend Senior Associate Editor, MedPage Today
The major U.S. tobacco companies settled litigation with the states on November 23, 1998, in what is known as the Master Settlement Agreement, which requires the tobacco companies to pay out $206 billion to the states over 25 years.
Those funds have been paid out annually, basically as cash windfalls that were supposed to bankroll tobacco control and cancer research programs.
That report for fiscal year 2018 showed that less than 3% of the Master Settlement funds went to such programs. “A couple of states have even in the past used it to benefit the tobacco industry,” the ALA noted in a press release marking the 20-year anniversary. North Carolina, for example, used 75% of the funds for tobacco production.
“The reality is that for decades the tobacco industry lied about their addictive and deadly products, hooking kids and adults alike for life,” ALA president Harold Wimmer said in the press release. “The settlement funds have the potential to serve as a lifeline for the millions of Americans now living with a tobacco-related disease, and it’s really up to the will of our representatives to do the right thing and implement and fully fund proven tobacco control programs.”
And a new generation of nicotine addicts appears to be on the rise with millions of teens now using electronic cigarettes. The FDA is just starting to get a regulatory handle on vaping, with a recently announced plan to ban most flavored vaping liquids and, over the next few years, conventional menthol cigarettes too.