U.S. State and Local Issues

Broken Promises to Our Children

The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 15 Years Later

February 27, 2014


This report has been updated to reflect the most recent recommendations for state funding of tobacco prevention programs contained in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, issued January 2014.

Since the states settled their lawsuits against the tobacco companies in November 1998, we have issued annual reports assessing whether the states are keeping their promise to use settlement funds — estimated at $246 billion over the first 25 years — to attack the enormous public health problems posed by tobacco use in the United States.
The states also collect billions more in tobacco taxes.

Fifteen years after the tobacco settlement, our latest report finds that states are continuing to spend only a miniscule portion of their tobacco revenues to fight tobacco use.  The states have failed to reverse deep cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs that have undermined the nation’s efforts to reduce tobacco use.

In Fiscal Year 2014, the states will collect $25 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.9 percent of it – $481.2 million – on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.  This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.

Alaska Hawaii Washington Oregon California Nevada Arizona Utah Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado New Mexico Texas Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Mississippi Tennessee Kentucky Illinois Wisconsin Michigan Indiana Alabama Florida Georgia South Carolina North Carolina Virginia West Virginia Ohio Pennsylvania New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland District of Columbia

Interactive Map: State Funding for Tobacco Prevention

States that are spending 50% or more of CDC recommendation on tobacco prevention programs.

States that are spending 25% - 49% of CDC recommendation on tobacco prevention programs.

States that are spending 10% - 24% of CDC recommendation on tobacco prevention programs.

States that are spending less than 10% of CDC recommendation on tobacco prevention programs.


Click a state on the map above or select from the dropdown box to see state-specific settlement information:

This report is issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

Other key findings include:

  • The states currently provide just 14.6 percent of the tobacco prevention funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Only two states – North Dakota and Alaska – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level.  Only five other states – Delaware, Wyoming, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Maine – provide even half the CDC’s recommended funding.

  • Tobacco companies spend more than $18 to market tobacco products for every one dollar the states spend to reduce tobacco use.  According to the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission (for 2011), tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

  • The $481.2 million the states have allocated for tobacco prevention this year amounts to a small increase from the $459.5 million allocated last year.  However, it is still a third less than the $717.2 million spent in FY2008.  These cuts mean more kids starting to smoke, fewer smokers quitting and more disease, death and health care costs from tobacco use.

There is more evidence than ever before that tobacco prevention and cessation programs work to reduce smoking, save lives and save money. Florida, which has a well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention program, reduced its high school smoking rate to just 8.6 percent in 2013, far below the national rate.  One study found that during the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent on the program.

Given such a strong return on investment, states are being truly penny-wise and pound-foolish in shortchanging tobacco prevention and cessation programs.