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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Announces an Extension Agreement for 90s-era Tobacco Settlement, Securing Utah Over $55 Million

SALT LAKE CITY – The State of Utah continues to benefit from Utah’s enforcement of the 1990s-era tobacco settlement. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), orchestrated in 1998 by former Utah Attorney General Jan Graham, has resulted in over $800 million in payments to the State of Utah. Today, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced a settlement extension agreement, securing Utah’s 2023 and 2024 payments of $30 million and $27 million, respectively.

The MSA states that each covered state receives yearly settlement payments, which are at risk if a state fails to “diligently enforce” tobacco statutes. Attorney General Reyes settled diligent enforcement disputes on behalf of Utah in 2018 for the years 2004-2022 and the most recent agreement extends the settlement through 2024.

“Nearly three decades ago, the late Attorney General Jan Graham helped lead a landmark settlement (MSA) with big tobacco companies requiring them to pay damages to each state so long as the states complied with certain enforcement conditions. Thanks to diligent work by lawyers in the AG Office and other state agencies, we have been able to hold tobacco companies to their MSA obligations even when they have made claims of Utah not enforcing tobacco statutes,” said General Reyes. “It has taken a lot of work, negotiation, careful planning, and strategic decision-making to keep settlement dollars coming in every year to Utah now and into the future. We will continue to do what is necessary to protect Utahns and safeguard our children from the dangers of tobacco use in all forms.”

The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement required the tobacco companies to make annual payments to the 46 states involved in the settlement, including Utah. The MSA settled state litigation for health care costs and other damages caused by cigarette smoking, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. The payment provisions partly compensate the states for the billions of dollars associated with treating tobacco-related diseases under state Medicaid programs.

The Attorney General’s Office is committed to ensuring that tobacco companies meet their obligations to Utah under the MSA without delay or uncertainty. This agreement again provides certainty for prompt and reliable payments into the State Endowment Fund and in support of vital health-related programs, including cancer research, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention.