Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement

Attorneys Generals Now Tobacco Industry Partners

Stan Glantz, November 22, 1998

One of the less noted but more pernicious parts of the AG deal with the tobacco industry is that the deal puts the AGs into active partnership with the tobacco industry. It does this in several ways:

1. The NAAG gets $50 million from the industry to enforce the deal.

2. The Education Foundation that is set up is limited to educating youth about health effects of smoking and specifically enjoined from attacking the industry -- the most effective message for reaching kids. The foundation has the ability to finish the job that RWJ started: focusing public health on ineffective youth strategies.

3. The yearly meetings between the foundation and tobacco companies to review "educational" materials will ensure that we see lots of things like "Helping Youth Decide" and "Helping Youth Say No" that the Tobacco Insitute and companies have distributed.

4. The fact that any judgements against the tobacco industry on behalf of taxpayers come out of the state's pocket will force the AG in to court defending the tobacco industry.

5. The fact that federal tobacco tax increases will come out of the state settlement (exactly the same deal that the industry snuck through Congress last year that was reversed once people understood it) will get the AG's and other state officials lobbying against federal tobacco tax increases.

It does not matter that the Tobacco Institute will be disbanded. The NAAG has replaced it.