For Immediate Release
UTAH GETS $371,000 FROM NEW TOBACCO SETTLEMENT
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced today that tobacco companies will pay Utah $371,480 to settle pending lawsuits over payments. The bulk of the money will come from Brown & Williamson, the nation's third largest tobacco manufacturer.
Utah's payment is part of a new, global settlement reached today for $160 million between the 52 states and jurisdictions and most of the nation's tobacco manufacturers.
"We're absolutely serious when we say that every tobacco maker must pay the full amount," says Joel Ferre, the assistant attorney general in charge of tobacco enforcement for Utah. "Tobacco manufacturers will pay dearly if they start playing games with what they owe the states."
The agreement resolves Brown & Williamson's failure to make payments to the states for the cigarettes it manufactured for Star Tobacco, Inc., a company that refused to join the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.
The five-year-old agreement required all of the major tobacco companies to pay $206 billion to the states over the next 25 years-including $1 billion to Utah. The major tobacco manufacturers also agreed to take responsibility for cigarettes they manufacture for other companies.
Today's settlement aims to prevent other tobacco companies from considering indirect means to avoid making full payments.
"The $160 million settlement should be a strong warning to big tobacco executives to pay what they promised," says Mark Shurtleff. "The Attorney General's Office has and will continue to fight to make sure Utah gets every dime that is due from tobacco companies."