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November 23 Marks Tenth Anniversary of the Largest Civil Settlement in U.S. History
Date:11/18/2008

ignored.

"In these economically challenged times, states cannot afford to misuse MSA funds," said Toomey. "The crushing financial burden each state must carry to address the very real costs associated with tobacco-related death and disease will only diminish when smoking rates begin to decline. Yet, the bitter reality is that states are not using the money for what it was intended for."

Alabama spends more than 3 billion dollars on tobacco-related health care costs each year, yet devoted millions of its MSA award to building factories for private employers and supporting flood control projects. Some these funds were even used to counter satanic cults in public schools. What the American Lung Association finds even more shocking is that Virginia actually gave $2 million of its settlement award to Star Tobacco Company to be spent on marketing incentives. North Carolina diverted three-quarters of its settlement dollars to support tobacco production.

"These states are not only guilty of taking money from big tobacco companies and giving it right back, but also guilty of contributing to the public health epidemic that causes almost 393,000 deaths in our country each year," said Toomey.

The American Lung Association calls upon states to stop squandering this money and to address the real issues at hand -- the deadly grip big tobacco has on our nation is literally killing us and contributing to our economic woes. Supporting tobacco cessation and prevention programs will save countless lives and will ease the strain on states' budgets by reducing tobacco-related health care expenditures.

For more information on how states in far too many instances are neglecting to sufficiently protect their residents from the predatory practices of the tobacco industry, visit http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org. Her
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SOURCE American Lung Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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