SALT LAKE CITY — The State of Utah continues to benefit from Utah’s enforcement of the 1990s-era tobacco settlement. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), orchestrated in 1998 by former Utah Attorney General Jan Graham, has resulted in over $800 million in payments to the State of Utah. Thursday, Attorney General Sean Reyes announced a settlement extension agreement, securing Utah’s 2023 and 2024 payments of $30 million and $27 million, respectively.

The MSA states that each covered state receives yearly settlement payments, which are at risk if a state fails to “diligently enforce” tobacco statutes. Attorney General Reyes settled diligent enforcement disputes on behalf of Utah in 2018 for the years 2004-2022 and the most recent agreement extends the settlement through 2024.

Reyes said “Nearly three decades ago, the late Attorney General Jan Graham helped lead a landmark settlement (MSA) with big tobacco companies requiring them to pay damages to each state so long as the states complied with certain enforcement conditions. It has taken a lot of work, negotiation, careful planning and strategic decision-making to keep settlement dollars coming in every year to Utah now and into the future. We will continue to do what is necessary to protect Utahns and safeguard our children from the dangers of tobacco use in all forms.”

The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement required the tobacco companies to make annual payments to the 46 states involved in the settlement, including Utah. The MSA settled state litigation for health care costs and other damages caused by cigarette smoking, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. The payment provisions compensate the states in part for the billions of dollars associated with treating tobacco-related diseases under state Medicaid programs.

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