SANTA FE, N.M. (Legal Newsline) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced on April 20 that the state received $54.2 million in settlement payouts from Big Tobacco, the largest settlement received to date.
The payout is the largest yet received because Balderas secured an additional $14.5 million this year after a judge determined the state was being shortchanged.
Tobacco settlement money goes toward health care and education as mandated by the New Mexico Legislature. Medicaid is the largest recipient of the funds, and the Medicaid population is almost two-thirds children. The settlement money also funds cancer screening, services for HIV patients and smoking cessation programs.
“I will continue to aggressively hold Big Tobacco accountable for the harms cigarettes cause to New Mexicans, and our record payment of over $54 million for 2017 includes an additional $14.5 million we won for New Mexico,” Balderas said. “At a time of severe budget shortfalls and economic crisis, this record recovery will ensure additional funds go to New Mexican children, Medicaid, HIV patients and smoking cessation programs.”