The misuse of Master Tobacco Settlement Funds by state governments is typical of the corrupting influence of Big Tobacco on everything it touches. The real losers, as always, are those who bought into Big Tobacco’s advertising and lure and have been a slave to the industry ever since. Little help for them as they suffer through debilitating diseases, conditions and economic hardships that are a direct result of their addiction.
The following article in the NY Times details how corrupt the influence of Big Tobacco really is:
In November 1998, the tobacco industry and 46 states reached what is known as the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (four states reached separate settlements). This group deal exempted the industry from legal liability for the harm caused by tobacco use. In return, the tobacco companies agreed to make annual payments, in perpetuity, to the states to fund anti-smoking campaigns and public health programs. The industry guaranteed a minimum of $206 billion over the first 25 years.
While a requirement that the states use these funds as intended was not written into the agreement, it was anticipated that they would do so.
They haven’t. (emphasis added)
Only a small fraction of the money has gone to tobacco prevention. Instead, the states have used the windfall for various and unrelated expenditures. In Alaska, $3.5 million in settlement money was spent on shipping docks. In Niagara County, N.Y., $700,000 went for a public golf course’s sprinkler system, and $24 million for a county jail and an office building. And in North Carolina, in the ultimate irony, $42 million of the settlement funds actually went to tobacco farmers for modernization and marketing. (emphasis added)
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Please go here to read the full article: How the Big Tobacco Deal Went Bad