and State Attorneys General
National Association of Attorneys General
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Attorney General Tom Miller said Monday that Iowa stands to receive over $1.7 billion in payments by the year 2025, with additional payments into the future beyond that, as a result of a proposed settlement between States and the tobacco industry.
"The money is huge, but the public health measures are crucial," Miller said of the agreement, which would result in nationwide total payments over $200 billion by 2025. "The tobacco companies would agree to very important curbs on their advertising and marketing, and they would fund a $1.5 billion anti-smoking campaign. Most important, they would be prohibited from marketing to kids."
Miller was one of six State Attorneys General who announced the proposed settlement at a news conference today at the National Press Club in Washington. The group then visited the White House to brief President Clinton on the agreement.
"This agreement is good for taxpayers, and it is very important to help us reach our top goal -- keeping our young people from becoming addicted to tobacco products," Miller said.
Miller filed a lawsuit against the tobacco industry in December 1996. There have been extensive pre-trial proceedings since then, and the trial in Iowa was likely to be scheduled sometime next year. The proposed settlement would end the lawsuit.
"The settlement is a very good first step," Miller said, "but there's much more to be done. I fought hard for including crucial public health measures, but we have to keep moving forward. For example, I believe Congress needs to act to ensure full FDA regulatory authority and meaningful warnings on cigarette packages. This is the end of a chapter, not the end of the story."
"I think the single most important public health aspect in this agreement is the counter-marketing measure -- creating advertising and education that actually dissuades young people from taking up tobacco products."
"I also strongly back the agreement banning cartoon characters in tobacco advertising, prohibiting billboards and transit advertising, and banning the sale and distribution of apparel and other merchandise with brand-name logos," Miller said.
"Tobacco leads to 420,000 deaths a year, and most of those who die or manage to quit are replaced by young people. This agreement will help us tackle that problem," Miller said.
The proposed settlement will be reviewed this week by states and territories -- even those that have not filed lawsuits to date. (Four states -- Mississippi, Florida, Texas, and Minnesota -- already have settled their lawsuits.) The negotiating attorneys general and the tobacco industry have said that the agreement will take effect if a "critical mass" of states approve it. States will have this week to determine whether to approve the settlement or proceed with their individual lawsuits. Whether the settlement will take effect nationwide is expected to be known and announced on Monday, Nov. 23.
(The full proposed
agreement is available at the web site of the NAAG: www.naag.org)
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