Nation’s largest tobacco manufacturers enter into the “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement” with 46 state Attorneys General over tobacco-related Medicaid costs. Tobacco companies agree to pay $206 billion to the states over 25 years for tobacco prevention and education efforts and to cease certain marketing practices, including marketing to youth, outdoor billboards, transit ads, and sponsorship of sporting events and concerts. Funding also establishes the American Legacy Foundation, now The Truth. Illinois will receive $9.1 billion dollars through 2025. These funds help fund tobacco control programs by the state, county, and local health departments.
Since the creation of the Tobacco Settlement Fund, Respiratory Health Association has worked with state and local health departments to implement evidence-based secondhand smoke youth tobacco initiation prevention efforts. In addition, RHA has used its strength in advocacy to ensure that this tobacco control funding is made available each year. As the State of Illinois has ran into budget problems, state tobacco control funding is often put in jeopardy. Of the $250 million in settlement payments from the tobacco manufacturers each year, the state generally allocated only around $10 million per year for prevention and cessation programs. When the Illinois General Assembly failed to pass a budget in 2015 and 2016, this crucial public health funding was put in jeopardy. With concerned community members and other leading public health organizations, RHA mounted a successful advocacy effort to get the settlement funding reinstated. This ensured that all certified local health departments across the state were able to continue their tobacco prevention and cessation programs.