April 19, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo.— Payments to the state of Missouri from the 1998 agreement between Attorney General Jay Nixon and the major tobacco companies have surpassed the $1.2 billion mark, Nixon announced today. The state received a total of $136,995,817 in two payments this week; added to the $1,101,267,653 previously paid, it brings the total Nixon has brought in from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) for Missouri taxpayers to $1,238,263,470.
“This historic agreement was the result of our lawsuit to hold Big Tobacco accountable for decades of misrepresentation and deceit, particularly as those efforts were aimed at getting young people hooked on cigarettes,” Nixon said. “I'm proud that our efforts have obtained well over a billion dollars so far for Missouri, with those payments extending into perpetuity.
“I continue to urge our legislators to follow the example of other states and dedicate meaningful portions of these payments to help anti-smoking efforts, especially those aimed at youth,” Nixon said. “Missouri has lagged behind too far on this issue, and we're paying the price for it with higher smoking rates.”
According to a report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Missouri has an adult smoking rate of 23.4 percent—the eleventh highest adult smoking rate among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, higher than the national average of 20.9 percent, and higher than the neighboring states of Illinois, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. The December 2006 report cites Missouri as one of only five states that have allocated no significant state funds for tobacco prevention.
The annual payments to Missouri and the other 45 states that participated in the MSA are based on consumption of tobacco, inflation and other factors. The payments will continue into perpetuity.