April 17, 2006
Jefferson City, Mo. — Payments to the state of Missouri from the agreement between Attorney General Jay Nixon and the major tobacco companies will surpass the $1 billion mark, with the state scheduled to receive the annual payment for 2005 due April 17. Nixon said the payment will be at least $125 million. To date, Missouri has received more than $968 million through the Master Settlement Agreement.
"I am pleased that Missouri will go over the $1 billion mark in money received from the tobacco companies as a result of the historic agreement," Nixon said. "This milestone provides a good opportunity to look ahead at the best ways to use future payments as well as look back at how this unprecedented amount of money has been appropriated.
"I continue to be very concerned about how this money has been used and have voiced that concern ever since Missouri received its first payment in 2001," Nixon said. "Missouri ranks dead last among the states in money spent to stop smoking. This is particularly troubling because the smoking rate among our youth is more than 30 percent - higher than our adult smoking rate of more than 26 percent, which is the third worst in the country.
"We have seen from other states such as Florida and Mississippi that prudent, effective use of money to combat youth smoking has paid high dividends," Nixon said. "It is frustrating that Missouri not only lags, but brings up the rear in ways to fight tobacco use among our young people."
In November 2004, Nixon publicly urged the General Assembly to use the additional $7 million that the state is receiving from tobacco companies that joined the Master Settlement Agreement after 1998 for anti-smoking efforts aimed at youth. A bill to dedicate those funds did not pass in 2005; a similar bill has been refiled this year.
The annual payments are based on consumption of tobacco, inflation and other factors. The payments will continue into perpetuity.