Where's the Settlement money going? ? ?
Last year's Tobacco Settlement will make about $206 billion available to 46 states to spend in any manner they chose to.
When the states settled their cases, they promised that the settlement was just the first step in their efforts to reduce tobacco use, particularly among children. The settlement was intended to reduce teen smoking and reimburse states for billions of dollars spent on smoking related diseases. However, based on a report presented by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Heart Association, it appears that the vast majority will spend little or nothing on programs to prevent teen smoking â€” the very thing the money is supposed to be used for. The funds from the settlement create an historic opportunity to use the tobacco companiesâ€™ own money to reduce tobacco use. However, States today are making plans to use this money on anything but tobacco control. For example, in Rhode Island there is a proposal to use the settlement dollars to reduce the car tax. New York plans to pay down state debt. Colorado and Washington, D.C., hope to build new schools. North Dakota wants to use the money for morgue control. Oklahoma wants to fund teacher retirements. Michigan plans to fund college scholarships, and Los Angeles hopes to rebuild sidewalks. Many states have decided to put the money into a trust, and will decide how to spend it later. Over the last five months, only four states have made commitments to use a significant portion of their tobacco settlement funds to reduce youth tobacco use.