• Presentation

Tobacco Control Promises Deferred: Distribution of Master Settlement Agreement Funds in North Carolina


Austin, D., & Beach, R. H. (2005, December). Tobacco Control Promises Deferred: Distribution of Master Settlement Agreement Funds in North Carolina. Presented at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.


Based on statements made by those negotiating the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between 46 states and the major tobacco companies, public health advocates (and the general public) had reason to believe that a substantial share of over $200 billion in scheduled MSA payments would be allocated to smoking cessation and prevention programs. However, states have typically allocated only a small proportion of their MSA funds towards tobacco control to date. While there have been several general assessments of the proportion of MSA expenditures allocated to tobacco control, there has been very little detailed examination of the alternative purposes to which MSA payments have been allotted and the types of organizations that have received funding. North Carolina, the largest tobacco producer in the U.S., is an interesting case study because state legislators have faced the tobacco-state complication of a severe contraction of tobacco farming communities, but a tobacco industry lobby that continues to be strong. For instance, an analysis of the allocation of North Carolina's MSA funds shows that only 5.1 percent of the total $545 million in committed MSA funds ($28 million) has been targeted at tobacco control, while there have been $47 million in payments to tobacco farmers to directly support continued tobacco production. This study examines the allotment of North Carolina MSA expenditures to illustrate the alternative ways in which MSA funds have been used and to explore how and why tobacco control programs have received a much smaller share of the funds than anticipated.