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Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 12:27pm

More Tobacco Money For Georgia

Georgia is one of 17 states this week to settle a ten year-old tobacco dispute.

The states had argued with four companies over payments under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

Georgia will get 56 million dollars for 2013 and the agreement ensures continued payments in the future.

State Attorney General Sam Olens says "This settlement is important for Georgia, particularly in this challenging budget environment. Under the terms of the settlement, we avoid the possibility of costly litigation and the potential loss of the entire MSA payment."

Two thirds of the tobacco settlement money goes to the state’s general fund. The other third goes to economic development initiatives.

Vince Willmore with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says Georgia ranks 43rd in the nation in spending money on smoking cessation.

“Georgia this year will get, before the settlement, will get 365 million dollars from the settlement and tobacco taxes. But it’s only spending 750 thousand dollars, less than a penny on the dollar, to fight tobacco use.” he says.

Brian Robinson, a spokesman for the Governor, says it’s unclear when the state will get the 56 million dollars.

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