15 Years Later, Where Did All the Cigarette Money Go? : NPR
Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines in what is still the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, it’s unclear how state governments are using much of that money.
So far tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement.
Among many state governments receiving money, Orange County, Calif., is an outlier. Voters mandated that 80 percent of money from tobacco companies be spent on smoking-related programs, like a cessation class taught in the basement of Anaheim Regional Medical Center.
“What states have actually done has fluctuated year by year … but it’s never come close to 14 percent,” Levin says. “There are some fairly notorious cases of money being used for fixing potholes, for tax relief [and] for financial assistance for tobacco farmers.”