The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was one of the largest legal settlements in United States history. It was a legal settlement between the four largest tobacco companies in the US and the attorneys general of 46 states in the country. The agreement ended a long-standing legal battle that had been raging for decades, and it included several key terms.
Here are some of the main terms of the Master Settlement Agreement:
1. Payment of damages: The tobacco companies agreed to pay a total of $206 billion over 25 years to the states that had sued them. This money was to be used to cover the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses, and to fund anti-smoking campaigns.
2. Restrictions on marketing: The tobacco companies agreed to curb their marketing efforts, including an end to billboards and other outdoor advertising. They also agreed to stop targeting youth in their advertising, and to limit their sponsorships of public events.
3. Changes to packaging: The MSA required changes to cigarette packaging, including the addition of warning labels that covered at least 30% of the front and back of the pack. The companies also agreed to stop using terms like “low tar” and “light” that implied that some cigarettes were safer than others.
4. Establishment of the National Public Education Fund: The tobacco companies agreed to fund the National Public Education Fund, which supports programs aimed at reducing smoking rates and preventing youth from starting to smoke.
5. Oversight and enforcement: The MSA established a panel of independent auditors to oversee the tobacco companies` compliance with the agreement. The attorneys general of the states that had sued the tobacco companies also had the power to enforce the terms of the MSA through legal action.
In summary, the Master Settlement Agreement was a landmark legal settlement that had significant ramifications for the tobacco industry in the United States. The terms of the agreement focused on reducing smoking rates, limiting the marketing efforts of tobacco companies, and ensuring that the companies were held accountable for the public health costs related to smoking.