LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has secured the 2021 proceeds from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with tobacco companies.
The historic, multibillion-dollar agreement was signed in 1998 by 46 states and numerous other jurisdictions to settle consumer-protection lawsuits for Americans' health and social costs for smoking.
“These funds are a result of misleading products and business practices by tobacco companies, and the funds will play an important role by providing resources for Arkansans who have been harmed,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “With over one billion dollars being allocated to the state over the last two decades, the settlement dollars play a fundamental role in providing vital resources for Arkansas families and children on smoking cessation, health care research and the Arkansas Medicaid program.”
With the 2021 disbursement of $59,375,732.59, the total amount received since 2001 to fund various public health programs in Arkansas is $1,221,182,901.53.
The MSA imposed health-related and advertising restrictions on tobacco companies, requiring the settling manufacturers to make annual payments to the settling states.
Rutledge is tasked with enforcing the MSA and related tobacco statutes. This enforcement includes the operation of a certification process for tobacco manufacturers, ongoing quarterly and annual reporting, maintaining an Approved-For-Sale Directory, conducting audits, enforcing escrow laws and investigation or even litigation, should violations of the MSA or tobacco statutes occur.