DES MOINES, IOWA (April 22, 2019) — Tobacco companies involved in the 1998 landmark settlement have transferred about $49.5 million to the state treasury for this year's payment.

In the last 21 years, Iowa has received more than $1.25 billion in payments under the settlement. The state will continue to receive annual Master Settlement Agreement payments in perpetuity, based on the number of cigarettes sold in the United States. The MSA is the largest settlement in US history.

“Our office carefully monitors and aggressively enforces this agreement so Iowa gets its fair share of the settlement,” Attorney General Tom Miller said.

About $10.9 million of this year's payment — or 22 percent — will go to the state. 

The 78 percent remainder will be used principally to pay bondholders who bought bonds issued by the Tobacco Settlement Authority.

In 1998, Miller and attorneys general of 45 states signed the MSA with the nation’s four largest tobacco companies to settle lawsuits to recover billions of dollars in state health care costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses.

Since then, several other tobacco companies have signed onto the agreement. The 2019 payment came from 29 companies, including Philip Morris USA, RJ Reynolds, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco, Vector, and Commonwealth Brands.

The settlement created restrictions on the advertising, marketing, and promotion of cigarettes, including a ban on targeting children through advertising. It also includes prohibitions on outdoor-advertising of cigarettes and the advertising of cigarettes in public-transit facilities, as well as the use of cigarette brand-names on merchandise, and a host of other restrictions.

The central purpose of the MSA was to reduce smoking, particularly among youth. Since it was announced, cigarette-sales in the United States have fallen substantially. Adult smoking-rates have fallen from 24 percent of the US population in 1999 to 14 percent in 2017, according to the US Centers on Disease Control and Prevention. Only 4.6 percent of teenagers in grades eight, 10, and 12 reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days in 2018, according to the Monitoring the Future survey. 

Support the River Cities' Reader

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993. Now we find our ability to continue providing all the features you love in serious jeopardy without the financial support of our readers.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher