Kentucky is on pace to collect nearly $2.5 billion as part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement—or MSA—that turns 20 years old this month.
According to a news release from the Office of the Attorney General, since the first payment in 1999, Kentucky has already collected more than $2 billion under the agreement reached by the tobacco industry and state attorneys general in 1998. Kentucky received $102 million in April and is on pace to collect another $5 million over the next five years bringing the total for Kentucky to nearly $2.5 billion.
Each state determines how the MSA funds are distributed and spent and in Kentucky, the general assembly designated half of the funds go towards agricultural diversification through grants issued by the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy. Kentucky’s additional MSA revenues are used to help improve the health outcomes of children and families.
Since 1998, tobacco companies have had to compensate states for some of the medical costs associated with tobacco-related illnesses and restrict advertising and promotion of cigarettes in the United States. The payments are determined according to a formula calculated, in part, by the number of cigarettes sold by companies that agreed to join the settlement.
Attorney General Andy Beshear says the funds are critical to the state and for 20 years has the agreement has made a positive impact by support early childhood education, health programs, cancer research and much more.