(BOISE) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced receipt of $22.2 million paid to the State of Idaho by tobacco companies as part of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. To date, tobacco settlement payments made to the state total more than $564 million.

The multistate settlement originated after Idaho and dozens of other states sued tobacco companies for their role in causing a decades-long health crisis and forcing states to pay billions in related healthcare costs. Tobacco manufacturers agreed to pay more than $200 billion to participating states in the first 25 years following the settlement.

“The settlement in 1998 was historic based on its scope and the size of the negotiated payouts,” Wasden said. “Idaho continues to receive significant payments from the settlement every year. The money comes with no strings attached and can be spent by the state legislature for any state purpose.”

Historically, the payments have been deposited into the state’s Millennium Fund. A portion of the money has been used for the state’s anti-smoking education and outreach programs.

As attorney general, one of Wasden’s consumer-related roles is to enforce the state’s Master Settlement Agreement and litigate when tobacco companies challenge the size of the payments. The work is conducted by a small team of tobacco-related attorneys and support staff in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Idaho’s payments will continue in perpetuity. The amount tobacco manufacturers must pay the states each year is primarily calculated by the number of cigarettes sold. This year, tobacco companies are required to pay states a total of $6.6 billion