HARRISBURG — A settlement reached by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro with various tobacco companies has resolved 20 years of disputed payments from the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and will bring the state nearly $357 million in settlement funds in addition to its annual $350 million received from tobacco companies.
According to the Attorney General's Office, the settlement not only will bring the $357 million to the state along with its yearly tobacco company money, but also an additional $279 million for the next 12 years will go to the commonwealth's general fund.
“This settlement ends this longstanding litigation and its associated risk to the commonwealth while providing certainty going forward,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Instead of being argued over for years, this money will now timely and directly benefit the residents of our commonwealth."
The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which was signed in 1998 by Pennsylvania along with 45 other states and six territories, settled state lawsuits and helped to recover billions in health care costs for those with smoking-related illnesses. According to the Attorney General's Office, Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., and Lorillard Tobacco Company were among the original participating tobacco manufacturers.
Pennsylvania has received $6.85 billion in payments since the settlement agreement was signed, according to the Attorney General's Office.