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August 23, 1999

Tobacco Companies Pay Iowa $1 Million for Costs of the State's Lawsuit

Miller: "The industry is paying our costs for the suit that resulted in payments to Iowa of $1.9 billion over the next 25 years. Now we need to finish off this work and take action to save thousands of lives."

DES MOINES-- Attorney General Tom Miller said Monday that the tobacco industry is paying the State of Iowa $1,022,270.86 in reimbursement of the State's costs in pursuing Iowa's lawsuit against the industry -- a suit which was settled last November with the industry agreeing to pay Iowa $1.9 billion over the next 25 years.

Miller said the first reimbursement payment of $817,816.69 is arriving today, and the remaining portion of over $200,000 is expected later this fall.

"This is another successful milestone," Miller said. "State taxpayers are being compensated for almost three years of costs in pursuing this case."

The reimbursement is for costs incurred by the Attorney General's Office from April 1996 to January 7, 1999, when Iowa's lawsuit was formally concluded in Polk County District Court. The settlement was part of a comprehensive settlement reached last November between the tobacco industry and 46 states.

The State was reimbursed for several thousand hours of work on the suit by Attorney General Tom Miller, Deputy Attorney General Gordon Allen, and Assistant Attorney General Steve St. Clair, and for other costs including travel, telephones, research, and expert witnesses.

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Miller said Iowa will receive payments of about sixty or seventy million dollars a year for twenty-five years under the overall settlement -- with the first payment of $76 million arriving no later than next June 30 and perhaps sooner.

"Now we need to take the next big step and take action to save thousands of lives," Miller said. "We must invest a portion of the tobacco settlement funds in proven programs that will reduce nicotine addiction and improve the health of all Iowans."

Miller said he would unveil a proposal soon for spending some of the tobacco money on efforts to reduce sales to youth and youth addiction, and to help adults stop smoking.

"The good news is that we don't have to reinvent the wheel," Miller said. "Some states have already demonstrated that we can achieve dramatic success in programs to improve health and reduce addiction. They are cutting sales to youth and youth usage of tobacco. They are saving lives with proven programs," he said.

"We launched our suit in November 1996 for Iowa's health, Iowa's youth, and Iowa's future," Miller said. "Now we need to deliver on that promise. We need to invest a share of the tobacco funds for health," he said.

"Iowa can succeed just like other states," Miller said. "Five thousand Iowans die every year from tobacco-related disease. We can substantially reduce that death toll."

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