For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: June 18, 2003
Wasden Joins New Tobacco Settlement Obtaining $300,000 for Idaho
(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced that the State of Idaho will receive more than $300,000 from tobacco companies in a settlement of pending disputes over payments due the states under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.
The bulk of the money will come from Brown & Williamson, the nation's third largest tobacco manufacturer. The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement required all of the major tobacco companies to pay $206 billion to the states during the first 25 years of the agreement.
The payment is part of a new, global settlement reached today between the states and most of the nation's tobacco manufacturers.
The agreement resolves Brown & Williamson's failure to make payments to the states for the cigarettes it manufactured for Star Tobacco, Inc., a company that refused to join the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.
"The settlement establishes clear ground rules for the future," Attorney General Wasden said. "It marks a major step forward for the states in ensuring that they will continue to receive the full payments promised under the MSA."
As part of the new settlement, all major tobacco manufacturers agreed they will take responsibility for cigarettes they manufacture for other companies. The settlement also avoids complex disputes over whether the 1998 settlement was a "significant factor" in causing the market share of the companies that signed it to decline during the first four years of the agreement. That issue had threatened to drag on into years of costly litigation, Attorney General Wasden said. Instead, the settlement avoids claims from the tobacco companies that might have reached as much as $1 billion.
- End -