JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., April 16 (UPI) -- Missouri is not using its share of tobacco settlement money for anti-smoking programs, state Attorney General Jay Nixon said Wednesday.
The Master Settlement Agreement was reached in 1998 between tobacco companies and 46 states and six U.S. territories to settle lawsuits to recover government costs associated with people who became ill from tobacco-related illnesses, Legal Newsline reported.
Nixon said his state has used the money for other, unrelated purposes, without funneling "substantial resources into programs to keep Missourians, especially young people, from taking up the smoking habit or to help them kick the habit once they're hooked."
Missouri on Tuesday received a $146 million payment as a part of the settlement agreement. In all, the Show Me State has received $1.4 billion from tobacco companies over the last decade, Legal Newsline said.
Missouri recently moved up to 50th in its commitment to using its tobacco settlement funds for smoking-related programs, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
"After many years of being dead last, there's little to brag about that Missouri has moved from 51st to 50th in using its tobacco money on prevention programs," Nixon was quoted as saying.