Wyoming Attorney General Gregory Phillips announced this week that a multi-state agreement was made with four major tobacco companies that settles a 10-year dispute regarding payments under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Sheridan Media's Ron Richter has more.
The agreement will provide Wyoming with an estimated $6 million in additional tobacco settlement payments in 2013 and ensures continued payments in the future. Attorney General Phillips said that the legislature has utilized the tobacco settlement trust fund wisely to support tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
In 1998, the major tobacco companies agreed to pay states more than $200 billion over 25 years to settle lawsuits over the health care costs related to smoking. Throughout the past decade, there's been a dispute between the tobacco companies and the states over portions of the payments. Since 2003, Wyoming has received approximately $144 million from the four largest tobacco companies. Annually, about $20 million in payments would be at risk by continued arbitration.