In 1998 there was a landmark settlement involving tobacco companies and in the last 24 years, Iowa has received $1.41 billion dollars in payments, according to CBS2Iowa

The great news is, based on the number of cigarettes sold in the United States, Iowa will continue to receive annual payments, in perpetuity.

Attorney General Tom Miller told CBS2Iowa

"Nearly a quarter-century after the Master Settlement Agreement was reached, it remains one of the most important settlements to consumers in Iowa and across the country. It is our duty year after year to ensure the provisions of the agreement are met and that Iowa receives its fair share.”

There's a part of this story however, many Iowans have expressed their displeasure on social media.

$11.7 million dollars of this year's payment, which is 22% will be going towards the state. They can use this money on things such as road improvements, hospitals, education, public welfare, etc.

All of that does sound good on paper, but where a lot of Iowans are upset is the remaining 78% will be used to pay bondholders who bought bonds issued by the Tobacco Settlement Authority according to CBS2Iowa.

That means about $41 million will be going to these bondholders instead of the state of Iowa.

Unsplash - Daniele Fotia
Unsplash - Daniele Fotia

The Master Settlement Agreements (MSA) created in 1998, were created to settle lawsuits to recover billions of dollars in state health care costs associated with smoking-related illnesses.

Western Iowa Today says "national smoking rates have been cut by almost half as the settlement money was put toward stop-smoking programs."

You're probably familiar with lung cancer being associated with smoking, but cigarettes don't stop there. Heart disease, diabetes, COPD, tuberculosis, different eye diseases, and immune system problems can all be associated with smoking.

As of this year, Iowa is the 22nd in the percentage of adults who smoke, which averages out to 16.40% of adults, according to World Population Review.

One of the biggest reasons for the creation of the MSA is to help reduce smoking among the youth, mostly aimed at high school students.

Only 13.4% of high school students reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days, back in 2020 according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While most Iowans would hope more of these annual payments were going to improve the welfare of the state, at the very least, they are preventing more young people from picking up smoking.

If you or someone you know wants help to quit smoking you can go to this website, CDV Gov


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