Attorney General announces $137 million tobacco settlement
Attorney General Jeff Landry announced on May 3 that, through diligent and effective work by his Public Protection Division’s Tobacco Unit, Louisiana has secured approximately $137.5 million in its annual Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payment.
“By properly enforcing the tobacco settlement, our office has protected the substantial annual MSA payment to Louisiana. I am proud of our team’s tireless effort to secure this much-needed revenue for the State,” Landry said. “With this money funding very important State programs like TOPS, it is critical our office has the necessary enforcement tools to get every MSA dollar owed.”
In 1998 – after suing tobacco companies for restraints against cigarette advertising and monetary damages to treat smoking-related illnesses – Louisiana and 45 other states signed the historic tobacco MSA that, among other things, required certain tobacco manufacturers to make annual payments to the states as long as cigarettes are sold. In 2012, Louisiana, along with 23 other states and territories, entered into a subsequent agreement to settle continued litigation regarding the states’ obligations under the MSA. Since that time, the states have continued to finalize the terms of that agreement and those efforts continue through today.
Since the first payment in 1999, Louisiana has collected over $2.6 billion under the agreement.The payments, based off the number of cigarettes sold by companies in the MSA, are legislatively mandated to be spent on the Health Excellence Fund, the Education Excellence Fund, the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), and the Louisiana Fund (exclusively to cover health, education, and tobacco enforcement by the Attorney General).