McGrath: Montana Receives $17 Million Check from tobacco Settlement
HELENA – Thanks to the settlement with the tobacco industry, a payment of $17.3 million was deposited into the state’s checking account Monday.
Attorney General Mike McGrath noted that Monday’s payment was the fifth Montana has received since it signed on to the settlement in 1998, bringing the total payments to $61.4 million.
“The settlement was intended to take back some of the money Big Tobacco had made at the expense of our nation’s health and invest it in prevention,” Attorney General Mike McGrath commented. “The whole point was to help people quit and, even more important in the long run, to make sure that fewer young people would become addicted to tobacco.”
“I’m disappointed that more of our share of the settlement hasn’t been used for prevention. This money could have done so much to keep our young people from taking up a deadly habit,” he added.
Monday’s payment includes $16.9 million from the tobacco companies that originally participated in the agreement, plus $345,796 from a group of smaller manufacturers who joined the settlement later.
Under the negotiated settlement, the major tobacco companies agreed to pay $206 billion to the states, as well as abide by a number of restrictions on advertising and sales. Montana was slated to receive $920 million through the year 2025. However, the settlement contains a clause allowing tobacco industry payments to decrease if the amount of cigarettes sold decreases. Cigarette sales declined over the past year, so the payments for the year 2001 are approximately eight percent less than original estimates.
Montana’s next payment is scheduled to arrive January 2002. The amount of that payment will be known later this year.