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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Health https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Minnesota asks Big Tobacco companies: Where's the money?

Minnesota asks Big Tobacco companies: Where's the money?



Several cigarette brands, including Salem and Winston, have stopped paying money owed to the state of Minnesota under the historic 1998 court settlement with Big Tobacco.

The shortfalls, estimated at $ 15 million a year, come as funding for the The state's free quit smoking program is set to expire next year.

Without new funds, Minnesota would be the only state that does not provide a free tobacco cessation program – even as teen tabacco use is rising and historic drop in adult

The state has sued tobacco companies to recapture the funds, and bills were introduced in the Legislature last week to deduct any resulting money to anti-tobacco efforts. Those efforts include a free Quitplan program, now operated by ClearWay Minnesota, a nonprofit established using some money from the original $ 6.5 billion in taboo lawsuit settlements.

Still, Minnesota draws a $ 1

54 million in 2018 in tobacco settlement payments from brands that have been paying as well as $ 648 million in taxes on tobacco products.

Altogether, Minnesota spends $ 17 million annually on tobacco control, with $ 12 million coming from ClearWay, according to a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis. By comparison, a 2014 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta said that Minnesota should spend $ 54 million annually.

"This was the largest and most significant lawsuit in the state's history, and for no one of that money was earmarked for the purposes. That the lawsuit was serving is an unforgivable shame, "said Doug Blanke, director of the Tobacco Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul "

Since the landmark legal settlement, Minnesota's adult smoking rate has dropped 38 percent, reflecting the impact of tobacco cessation programs, higher taxes on cigarettes and indoor smoking ban.

But recent trends paint a changing picture. A recent ClearWay survey found that the decline in adult smoking rates was leveled off between 2014 and 2018. The rates went from 14.4 percent to 13.8 percent, a drop that is not statistically significant.

Among young Minnesotaans, tobacco use has increased for the According to a Minnesota Department of Health Survey, the CDC released an "Progress Erased" report last week showing that this is the first time in 17 years, fueled by a 50 percent jump in e-cigarette use by teens over the past three years. 4.9 million middle school and high school students were users of tobacco products in 2018. One in five teens used e-cigarettes, according to CDC, which highlighted prevention efforts in Minnesota and encouraged other states to adopt them.

Twenty-three Oliven has participated in a CDC national news conference to release the healthcare industry in the United States, according to Laura Oliven, a tobacco control manager for the Health Department. report, describing Minnesota's efforts to reduce e-cigarette use among teens by educating teachers and doctors about the harm that nicotine can cause in developing brain.

"The nicotine changes that early brain chemistry," she said in an interview. "It kind of locks in that association between nicotine and pleasure and creates a lifetime susceptibility to addiction. And that's really scary. "

Cigarette use has plummeted 70 percent among teenagers in Minnesota since 2000 – evidence that prevention efforts do work, Oliven said. "I do not want to say we are winning the war, but a smoke-free generation is within reach. With e-cigarettes, it's threatening to undermine our success. "

More than 185,000 Minnesotaans have used ClearWay's Quitplan service, which provides online, texting and email support as well as some free tobacco cessation medications to those who want to quit smoking.

The program has been funded with funds set aside as part of the 1998 tobacco settlement, but ClearWay's mandate was limited to 25 years, and Quitplan will stop providing services in March 2020. "We provide most of the money in the state for tobacco cessation, "said Laura Smith, public affairs manager. "

Bills were introduced in both chambers of the Legislature, which would dedicate some tabacco settlement money to tobacco efforts.

" It's time for under Big Tobacco brands selling in Minnesota to pay up and honor this settlement. And it's time for the state to dedicate some of that tobacco money to preventing youth from ever starting this deadly addiction, "said Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, lead author of the Senate Bill.

In March 2018, then-Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court against tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Reynolds sold four of its cigarette brands to ITG to resolve anti-trust concerns after Reynolds acquired another big tobacco manufacturer, Lorillard Inc., in 2015, and the four brands " Reynolds and ITG have since sued each other over who bears responsibility for the payments.

"Our position is that ITG bought the brands and should be making the payments," said Reynolds spokesman Michael Shannon.

ITG spokesman Mark Smith said: "We are currently paying legal fees to Minnesota for the products we are selling in the state."

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