National Association of Attorneys General

National Association of Attorneys General National Association of Attorneys General

NAAG Center for Tobacco and Public Health

Michael Hering

NAAG Tobacco Center Director and Chief Counsel
(202) 326-6023 | mhering@naag.org

Bill Lieblich

NAAG Tobacco Center Deputy Chief Counsel - MSA Public Health
(202) 326-6004 | wlieblich@naag.org

Patricia Molteni

NAAG Tobacco Center Counsel
(202) 326-6251 | pmolteni@naag.org

Tamara Schlinger

NAAG Tobacco Center Counsel
(202) 326-6033 | tschlinger@naag.org

Erjona Fatusha

NAAG Tobacco Center Paralegal
(202) 326-6006 | efatusha@naag.org

Danae Johnson

Paralegal & Content Coordinator
202-326-6049 | djohnson@naag.org

The NAAG Tobacco Center specializes in matters related to the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and is dedicated to helping the attorneys general of the signatory states (Settling States) interpret, implement, and enforce this agreement. With the leadership of the NAAG Tobacco Committee co-chairs, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, and Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, the Center is committed to providing legal expertise to the Settling States as they enforce the MSA.

The MSA is a historic, landmark agreement that has greatly contributed to the decreased smoking rate among Americans. The settlement has not only helped the Settling States recover the health care costs of smoking by ensuring billions in yearly revenue, but has also changed the way tobacco companies operate by restricting advertising and eliminating practices that obscured tobacco’s health risks. The MSA is responsible for raising a generation that has never seen ads of “Joe Camel” or other cigarette-smoking cartoon characters. Kids are now protected from the “smoking is cool” advertising messages tobacco companies once freely used. The NAAG Tobacco Center is committed to working with the Settling States to preserve and enforce the MSA’s monetary and public-health mandates.

Our Mission: In addition to providing the Settling States with counsel specializing in the MSA, we provide all states with counsel relating to tobacco regulation generally. Tobacco Center Counsel:

  • Advise, support, and represent the Settling States in MSA-related litigation and arbitrations,
  • Represent the Settling States in bankruptcy cases filed by tobacco manufacturers,
  • Monitor MSA payments and the disbursement process, as well as corroborate the Independent Auditor’s yearly payment calculations,
  • Monitor tobacco companies’ compliance with the MSA’s payment and public health provisions, including advertising restrictions,
  • Advise the states regarding developments in federal regulation of tobacco, in fashioning tools to make state regulation of tobacco more effective, and in finding ways to reduce youth tobacco use,and
  • Liaise between the states, tobacco companies, federal agencies and public health organizations.

MSA Background

In 1998, 46 attorneys general signed the MSA with the four largest tobacco companies in the U.S. to settle several state-law suits brought to recover billions of dollars in health-care costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses. Four states Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Texas settled prior to the MSA and are not signatories to the MSA. The central purpose of the MSA is to reduce smoking, especially in American youth. Accordingly, the MSA places restrictions on advertising, marketing, and promoting cigarettes, including prohibiting the use of cartoons and other youth-targeting methods, advertising on billboards or in public transportation, and merchandise branding. Since the first State settlement was announced, cigarette consumption in the United States has fallen by more than 48 percent, and the decline in youth smoking has been even more pronounced. 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.

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