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Master Settlement Agreement

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of 1998 was a legal settlement between the Attorneys General of 46 U.S. states and the four largest American tobacco companies to settle lawsuits brought by the states to recover billions of dollars in costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses. Four states - Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Texas - settled their tobacco cases separately from the MSA states.

The MSA prohibits the tobacco companies from targeting youth and using cartoons in cigarette advertising. It also ended outdoor advertising of cigarettes and the advertising of cigarettes in public transit facilities, as well as the use of cigarette brand names on merchandise, and a host of other restrictions.

The MSA requires the tobacco industry to make payments to the states totaling approximately $246 billion through the year 2025.

The MSA also created an industry-funded $1.45 billion national public education fund for tobacco control, now known as the American Legacy Foundation.

The central purpose of the MSA was to reduce smoking, and particularly youth smoking in the United States, however realtively little of the money paid out to the states has actually been delegated to this cause. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington, D.C. (who issues regular reports on state spending of settlement funds) finds that most states have fallen far short of fulfilling funding guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designating adequate amounts necessary to fund effective programs to reduce smoking.[1]

The text of the Master Settlement Agreement is available at the web site of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

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