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The Tobacco Project serves as liaison to the NAAG Tobacco Committee and Settling States for the implementation and enforcement of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).The Project assists the States in defending the MSA, in coordinating enforcement strategies, in construing and applying the MSA to specific situations, and in dealing with other tobacco issues. Since June 2006 the Tobacco Committee has been chaired by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna.

In 1998, the Attorneys General of 46 states signed the MSA with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States to settle state suits to recover billions of dollars in costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses. Four states - Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Texas - settled their tobacco cases separately from the MSA states.

The MSA created a broad array of restrictions on the advertising, marketing and promotion of cigarettes. For example, it prohibits the targeting of youth and the use of cartoons in cigarette advertising. It also bars outdoor advertising of cigarettes and the advertising of cigarettes in public transit facilities, the use of cigarette brand names on merchandise, and other marketing or advertising devices.

The central purpose of the MSA was to reduce smoking, and particularly youth smoking in the United States. Since 1997, when the first State settlement was announced, cigarette sales in the United States have fallen by more than 21%. Cigarette sales in the United States  in 2006 were about 371 billion cigarettes, which  represents the lowest number of cigarettes sold in the United States since 1951, when the US population was less than half of what it was in 2006.

The declines in youth smoking have been even more pronounced. According to the federal government, the decline in cigarette smoking at every age level measured exceeded the national decline.

Despite these gains, tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. As advocates for the public interest, State Attorneys General are actively and successfully enforcing the provisions of the MSA to reduce tobacco use and protect consumers.
Last modified July 02, 2007 10:43
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