NORMAN — Oklahoma recieved $77.18 million in annual payments from the tobacco industry under the national Master Settlement Agreement. With the latest receipts, Oklahoma has received $1.16 billion since payments began in 1999.
State Treasurer Ken Miller said 75 percent of the annual payment, or $57.89 million, went into the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund, as mandated by the Oklahoma Constitution.
This year’s payment brings the trust fund balance to more than $991 million. The remainder of the annual payment is divided between a fund used for health care-related appropriation by the Legislature and the attorney general’s evidence fund.
Oklahoma was one of 46 states that sued the largest U.S. tobacco companies to recover tobacco-related health care costs. Payments will continue as long as cigarettes are sold.
One of the main goals of the Master Settlement Agreement was to reduce smoking, particularly among youth, and the TSET Board of Directors made tobacco prevention its first priority.
Oklahoma’s rank among states improved from 47th to 39th in adult smoking. Middle school and high school smoking rates are nearly half of what they were when TSET first began making grants to support tobacco free environments and prevent youth initiation of tobacco use.
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