Attorney General Gansler Commemorates 10th Anniversary
of Historic Tobacco Settlement
Decade of Public Health Gains Marked By Vigorous Enforcement
BALTIMORE, MD (November 20, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas
F. Gansler and attorneys general around the country are
marking the 10-year anniversary of the Master
Settlement Agreement (MSA) this month, which was finalized November 23, 1998.
The MSA, signed by the attorneys general of 52 jurisdictions and now more than
40 tobacco companies, imposes sweeping changes in tobacco advertising, bans
the tobacco companies from targeting children, allocates
funding for tobacco education
efforts and provides the states annual payments based on the number of cigarettes
sold in the country. The total payments over the first 25 years are projected
to exceed $206 billion, and payments will continue as long as cigarettes are
sold. In Maryland alone, MSA payments to date amount to $1.38 billion.
In the lawsuits filed by Maryland and other states, the attorneys
general sought restraints against the tobacco industry and monetary
damages for state funds spent treating smoking-related illnesses.
The attorneys general also accused the companies of marketing tobacco
products to children and of concealing the dangers associated with
“The past ten years have changed the way society views
tobacco use,” Attorney General Gansler said. “Ten years
ago, Joe Camel was everywhere and the Marlboro Man was riding shotgun.
We can measure the power of the MSA’s protections with each
and every Marylander who lives longer and healthier because Big
Tobacco was not allowed to entice her or him to start smoking as
The MSA’s advertising
restrictions have reduced mainstream exposure to tobacco images
and, combined with effective MSA-funded
youth smoking prevention campaigns, have led to dramatic declines
in smoking rates, including among youth. According to data from
the CDC and the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.8 million American high school
students smoked in 1997, and ten years later, that number is 3.5
Since 1998, Maryland’s actions to enforce the MSA’s
marketing restrictions include:
- Youth Targeting Through
Magazine Ad Placements: Maryland supported California’s successful lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco Company (Reynolds) in 2001 to enforce the MSA’s prohibition
against targeting youth in advertising, marketing or promotion
by placing advertisements in magazines with substantial youth readership.
- “Kool Mixx” Hip
Hop Promotion: Maryland, New York and Illinois sued Brown & Williamson
Tobacco Co. in 2004 in connection with the company’s “Kool
hop music promotion. The resulting nationwide settlement ended
the promotion’s objectionable aspects along with the tobacco
company paying $1.46 million to fund youth smoking prevention
programs in urban areas targeted by the campaign.
- Flavored Cigarettes:
Following an investigation by Maryland and
other states as to whether Reynolds’ flavored cigarettes
violated the MSA’s prohibition against youth targeted
tobacco marketing, Reynolds agreed to cease marketing its existing
cigarettes and to significantly restrict future marketing of
any such cigarettes, including limits on using certain names
and descriptors in its advertising.
Farm Rocks Indie Music Campaign: In December 2007, Maryland
sued Reynolds alleging
that its November 2007 advertisement
in Rolling Stone magazine and the distribution of Indie Rock music
CDs violated tobacco marketing prohibitions against cartoons and
brand name merchandise. The State’s action is pending in
Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Other significant actions by the Maryland Attorney General to
prevent youth smoking or otherwise related to the MSA include:
in Movies - Since 2003, in response to research linking children’s viewing of tobacco depictions in movies
and their initiation of smoking, the Maryland Attorney General
has been a leader in the nationwide effort to eliminate tobacco
brand appearances in movies and to reduce the depictions of smoking
in movies viewed by children. To date, several studios have inserted
anti-smoking PSA’s in DVD movies and Time Warner, Inc. has
begun certifying that no payment was received for tobacco depictions.
Cigarette Sales - The Maryland Attorney General’s
actions to prevent illegal underage or untaxed cigarette sales
over the Internet, including notifications to one hundred Internet
cigarette retailers, have resulted in settlements with two online
retailers, Dirt Cheap Cigarettes (2003) and Valucigs (2008).
- National Tobacco
Retailers - The Maryland Attorney General has reached multi-state
agreements with national tobacco retailers
including Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP Amoco, CVS, 7-Eleven, Walmart
and Rite Aid, to establish best practices to prevent underage tobacco
sales in approximately 1600 Maryland locations.