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AG Nessel Announces Annual Payment From Tobacco Industry Settlement

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that the state is on the receiving end of more than $278 million in payments this year, which are part of a 1998 settlement with major tobacco companies after dozens of states sued the businesses for decades of allegedly deceitful advertising and marketing.

Nessel sent a letter to leaders of the Legislature and Gov. Whitmer announcing the payment, which is provided each year through the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and received by the Michigan Department of Treasury Receipts Processing Division and the Trustee for the Michigan Tobacco Settlement Finance Authority.

The State of Michigan and dozens of other states filed lawsuits in 1995 against major domestic tobacco companies for allegedly misleading the public about the dangers of tobacco. In 1998, the companies entered into the MSA with 46 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and four territories.

As part of the MSA, the states and other plaintiffs dropped their claims while the tobacco companies agreed to make annual settlement payments in perpetuity, fund a national foundation devoted to public education about the dangers of tobacco use, and adhere to certain restrictions of their advertising, marketing and other practices.

Since the MSA was adopted, the tobacco companies have paid a total of more than $138 billion, with Michigan receiving more than $5.9 billion. These payments discourage tobacco use and help defray the enormous health care costs attributable to smoking.

“I am happy to report another significant payment to the State of Michigan as a result of the  landmark settlement against the tobacco industry,” Nessel said. “This historic settlement has not only provided an additional source of revenue for Michigan and its residents, but it has also been a big win for the health of our country.”