Tobacco Master Settlement at 20 Years | Anchor Article

Big Tobacco’s payouts squandered from prevention standpoint

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 annually in perpetuity.

Those funds have been paid out annually, basically as cash windfalls that were supposed to bankroll tobacco control and cancer research programs.

However, nearly all states have diverted the money to their general funds, with their anti-tobacco programs underfunded and neglected. Only one state — Oklahoma — met the CDC-recommended levels of tobacco control program funding in 2018, according to the American Lung Association’s (ALA) annual “State of Tobacco Control” report.

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