Home ‘Tobacco industry was completely reshaped’: Virginia gets $122.5M payment from 1998 lawsuit
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‘Tobacco industry was completely reshaped’: Virginia gets $122.5M payment from 1998 lawsuit

Rebecca Barnabi
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Virginia has received a payment of $122.5 million from the major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris USA Inc, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Scandinavian Tobacco Group Lane, and ITG Brands LLC.

The payment is the result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement finalized in 1998. The settlement resolved Virginia’s lawsuit against the major tobacco companies for violations of consumer protection laws and deceptive marketing practices that caused damages to the state, including increased healthcare costs.

Virginia has received $3.3 billion in payments from the Master Settlement Agreement.

Under the settlement terms, Virginia and 51 other states and U.S. territories receive annual payments, which help defray the cost of healthcare for smoking-related illnesses. The Master Settlement Agreement also contains significant public health protections for Virginians, including restrictions against youth marketing of tobacco products, sales of tobacco brand-name merchandise, and tobacco-sponsored entertainment and sporting events.

“The tobacco industry was completely reshaped by the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which prioritized Virginia consumers’ safety over 25 years ago and continues to today. Carrying out this settlement is a core function of my office and I’m proud of how we proactively protect Virginians daily,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said.

Miyares and his Tobacco Enforcement Section are responsible for enforcing the Master Settlement Agreement, ensuring Virginia continues to receive its benefits, and regulating Virginia’s tobacco companies under the Settlement’s terms as well as state and federal tobacco laws.

Questions or inquiries regarding the compliance and reports of underage or illicit cigarette sales and distribution should be referred to the Office of the Attorney General’s Tobacco Enforcement Section by phone at 804-786-0148.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.