SmokeFree Educational Services:
Proposed Tobacco Settlement
The eight AGs who negotiated the
deal are allies of the tobacco cartel. All favor immunity for the tobacco
cartel and its executives for past misconduct. One is the AG from North
Carolina who has not even filed a lawsuit. Three others were not re-elected
on November 2 and won't be in office on January 1, 1999. The proposed settlement
has now been distributed to all other Attorneys General, and they have
until this Friday, November 20, to sign on or reject the deal.
As we expected, the tobacco cartel's proposal is not good because it:
1. Preempts local governments from bringing any legal action against
the tobacco cartel for past misconduct. For example, it would nullify lawsuits
that have been brought by cities such as New York City and San Francisco.
(The State AG should not have the authority to preempt local claims!)
2. Preempts local governments from bringing any legal action against
the tobacco cartel for any future health care costs incurred by the locality
for treating smoking-caused diseases. (The State AG should not have the
authority to preempt local claims!)
3. Preempts state and local governments from bringing any legal action
against the tobacco cartel for any past misconduct regarding secondhand
smoke, which the tobacco cartel still denies is hazardous
4. Allows tobacco companies to sponsor sporting events such as NASCAR
5. Allows the tobacco cartel to sponsor the Kool Jazz festival and country
6. Makes states become a financial partner in the tobacco business by
allowing the tobacco cartel to pay states on a perpetual basis instead
of requiring payments to be made up front.
7. Reimburses payments made by the tobacco cartel if it addicts fewer
people (This is like giving a serial murderer a lighter sentence if he
kills fewer people).
8. Defines "underage" as the minimum age at which it is legal
to purchase cigarettes (In most states there is no minimum age to purchase
cigarettes. It is usually only illegal to sell cigarettes to persons under
18. For example a 17 year old can legally buy cigarettes, but it is illegal
to sell cigarettes to a 17 year old).
9. Allows the money paid by the tobacco cartel to be spent on issues
unrelated to tobacco control.
10. Gives states much less money than MN, FL, TX, and MS obtained when
they settled their cases individually with the tobacco cartel.
11. Gives the 38 AGs who were not at the negotiating table only 4 days
to accept or reject the 100+ page proposed settlement agreement.