NC to get $108M from deal with tobacco companies

Posted December 19, 2012 12:31 p.m. EST

— North Carolina and more than a dozen other states have reached an agreement with major tobacco companies that will provide more than $108 million to North Carolina, along with continued annual payments, Attorney General Cooper said Wednesday.

The agreement resolves a 10-year dispute over payments owed by the companies under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Complete terms of the settlement, along with required approvals, are still to be finalized.

“Resolving this dispute now avoids costly litigation and provides a framework to ensure future payments,” Cooper said in a statement.

Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard agreed in 1998 to pay states more than $200 billion over 25-plus years to settle lawsuits over health care costs related to smoking. Several other tobacco companies later joined the settlement agreement.

Since 2003, North Carolina has received more than $1 billion under the agreement. Cooper said continuing the legal dispute could put at least $23 million of each annual payment at risk.

Other states joining in the new settlement include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.