Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement
Landmark litigation against tobacco companies over decades of allegedly deceitful advertising and illegal marketing of tobacco products aimed at children has produced major changes in the way cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products are promoted.
The changes are part of an historic settlement in which seven tobacco companies agreed to restrictions on their marketing practices and to pay $206 billion over 25 years to California, 45 other states, the District of Columbia and five US territories.
Gone now are cartoon characters in cigarette ads, like the infamous Joe Camel, that appealed to youngsters. More than 14,000 tobacco billboard advertisements nationwide were replaced by anti-smoking messages. Other marketing restrictions also apply through the Master Settlement Agreement. These changes are significant when you consider that health experts say most people can avoid becoming addicted to the nicotine in tobacco products if they can be kept tobacco-free during adolescence.
In January 2000, the Attorney General's Office began receiving California's share of the settlement, which is approximately $1 billion a year. Half the payment goes to the state's General Fund with the Legislature and Governor determining how the money will be used. The remainder is divided, based on population, among California's 58 counties and four largest cities for use as decided by each local government.
With the lawsuit settled, Attorney General Lockyer directed his Tobacco Litigation Section to hold the tobacco industry accountable by ensuring compliance with the settlement agreements. The renamed Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement Section has established a complaint line to receive information on any improper marketing of tobacco products.
This web site provides information on the settlement agreements, including the restrictions on the advertising and promotional activities of tobacco companies, as well as links to other Internet sites relating to the tobacco litigation.