April 16, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. - The state of Missouri this week received $146.1 million in the latest payment made possible by the historic 1998 agreement obtained by Attorney General Jay Nixon with the tobacco companies. The $146,168,168.10 received on Tuesday (April 15) brings the total that Missouri has received from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to $1,385,640,020.50. Nixon said an additional payment is expected in the next few days.
"This has been an agreement that will reap benefits for Missouri and its citizens for many years to come, and I am proud that the efforts of the Attorneys General helped hold Big Tobacco responsible for decades of misrepresentation and deceit," Nixon said. "Unfortunately, those monetary benefits to Missouri over the past decade have not translated into the General Assembly or Governor putting any substantial resources into programs to keep Missourians, especially young people, from taking up the smoking habit or to help them kick the habit once they're hooked."
Over the past 10 years, Nixon has repeatedly urged various Missouri governors and the General Assembly to dedicate meaningful portions of the money received from tobacco companies to help with smoking cessation and prevention measures, particularly those aimed at young people.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Missouri ranked second to last in fiscal year 2008 among the states and the District of Columbia in funding for teen smoking prevention, with $200,000 appropriated for such programs. The minimum annual funding recommended for tobacco prevention in Missouri by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is $32.7 million.
"After many years of being dead-last, there's little to brag about that Missouri has moved from 51st to 50th in using its tobacco money on prevention programs," Nixon said.
The annual payments 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.