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Tobacco Company CEOs Cash In While States Cut Back on Prevention

April 12, 2012


Pay packages for chief executives at the top three U.S. tobacco companies last year exceeded the amount of money being spent on tobacco prevention programs in all but three states.

New compensation disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and reported by the Associated Press show that just three men — Lorillard Inc. CEO Murray Kessler, Altria Group CEO Michael E. Szymanczyk and Reynolds American chief Daniel M. Delen — together pulled in $31.9 million in 2011.

That’s more than every state except New York, Florida and California budgeted in fiscal year 2012 to keep kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

No matter how you parse the numbers, this mismatch is frighteningly clear:

  • Lorillard’s Kessler, who received compensation of $13 million in 2011, was paid more than what 42 states and DC allocated to tobacco prevention programs.
  • Szymanczyk — whose pay at Altria was $10.2 million, about half of what he made in 2011 — made more than the amounts 40 states and DC are spending to prevent smoking.
  • Delen’s $8.5 million paycheck was greater than prevention spending in 35 states and DC.

It’s a sad case of misplaced priorities when Big Tobacco’s bigwigs make more to sell deadly tobacco products than most states spend to protect the health of our kids.

See how your state stacks up against Big Tobacco’s big paychecks

State tobacco prevention spending versus Big Tobacco CEO Pay

State FY12 State Spending ($millions)
Alabama $0.0
Connecticut $0.0
District of Columbia $0.0
Nevada $0.0
New Hampshire $0.0
Ohio $0.0
Missouri $0.1 million
Tennessee $0.2 million
Rhode Island $0.4 million
Washington $0.8 million
Idaho $0.9 million
Kansas $1.0 million
New Jersey $1.2 million
Michigan $1.8 million
Georgia $2.0 million
Kentucky $2.2 million
Nebraska $2.4 million
Iowa $3.3 million
Vermont $3.3 million
South Dakota $4.0 million
Massachusetts $4.2 million
Maryland $4.3 million
Montana $4.7 million
South Carolina $5.0 million
Wisconsin $5.3 million
Wyoming $5.4 million
Texas $5.5 million
West Virginia $5.7 million
New Mexico $5.9 million
Colorado $6.5 million
Utah $7.2 million
Arkansas $7.4 million
North Dakota $8.1 million
Oregon $8.3 million
Virginia $8.4 million
Louisiana $8.4 million
Daniel Delen, Reynolds American $8.5 million
Delaware $9.0 million
Maine $9.4 million
Illinois $9.5 million
Mississippi $9.9 million
Indiana $10.1 million
Michael Syzmanczyk, Altria $10.2 million
Hawaii $10.7 million
Alaska $10.8 million
Murray Kessler, Lorillard, Inc. $13.0 million
Pennsylvania $13.9 million
North Carolina $17.3 million
Arizona $18.0 million
Minnesota $19.5 million
Oklahoma $21.2 million
New York $41.4 million
Florida $62.3 million
California $70.0 million
Total $456.7 million