DES MOINES--"The tobacco industry is paying Iowa another $18,703,406.37 today," Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday.
The year-end wire transfer means the tobacco industry has paid Iowa over $40 million. The state received its first payment of $21,472,341.20 on December 14. The industry is expected to pay Iowa a total of about $1.9 billion by the year 2025, or about $55 million a year; similar payments continue indefinitely after that. The next payment of about $30 million is due in April.
"In 1998, we succeeded in settling the States' lawsuits and forever changing the way tobacco advertises and markets its products in the U.S.," Miller said.
"In 1999, we received our first payments ever from the industry. In 2000, we need to start spending a significant portion of the tobacco money to reduce tobacco addiction and death."
"We made big strides in our campaign on tobacco this year, but next year will tell the tale of whether we really start solving this problem or not," Miller said.
The State Legislature will determine how to spend the money coming from the tobacco industry. Miller has proposed a $20 million comprehensive plan to reduce youth smoking and tobacco addiction, disease and death. Five thousand Iowans die every year from tobacco-related disease, and a thousand Iowa children take up smoking every month, he said.
"We know programs can succeed in reducing sales to youth, reducing youth smoking, reducing smoking by pregnant mothers, and helping people quit. Other states already are proving it can be done," Miller said. "Next year we need to turn the corner in Iowa so we can start to save countless lives and escape the enormous financial toll of tobacco disease and death."
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