Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement


Harrisburg--A coalition of Pa. health groups calls on Pa. Attorney General Mike Fisher to reject the proposed multi- state settlement with the four largest tobacco companies officially unveiled today at a press conference at the National Press Club.

"The deal would leave the Marlboro Man in the saddle and the tobacco companies in the driver's seat," said Jeffrey Barg, president of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Pennsylvania.

"We stood next to Attorney General Fisher and supported him when he announced Pa.'s suit against the tobacco companies a year-and-a-half ago," Barg said. "We will not be standing next to him today as he announces a settlement proposal, which would do more to protect the tobacco companies than public health, and at the expense of Pa. taxpayers."

Attorney General Fisher has refused to divulge the terms of the settlement to the anti-tobacco coalition, but a leaked version of the settlement proposal was published on ABC's website over the weekend.

An initial analysis of the proposal has unearthed the following important flaws:

  • Preempts state (and local) lawsuits to redress all past industry misconduct on tobacco smoke pollution (ETS), even though ETS wasn't a cause of action in any of the state lawsuits. Section II (nn)(1)(B)
  • Preempts state (and local) lawsuits to redress past misconduct by industry executives, attorneys, agents, advertisers, distributors, retailers, etc, even though none are defendants in the current lawsuits. Section II (oo)
  • Preempts local government lawsuits to redress past industry misconduct, even though local governments aren't plaintiffs in any of the state lawsuits. Section II (pp)
  • Allows tobacco companies to continue marketing to children as long as that's not their "primary" purpose. Section III (a)
  • Allows tobacco products to continue remaining easily accessible to children via cigarette vending machines and self-service displays.
  • Fails to collect any financial damages for past industry misconduct, and requires taxpayers to pay the overwhelming majority of future state and local government costs imposed by tobacco products. Section IX Payments
  • Provides no incentives for tobacco companies to market less addicting or less hazardous products.

"Instead of achieving the Attorneys General stated goals of protecting children from tobacco and reimbursing states for Medicaid costs imposed by tobacco, the tobacco industry's proposal to the state AGs would grant the industry outrageous and unprecedented protections," said Coalition Vice President Bill Godshall.