A coalition of 42 states today announced a settlement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company after the company violated the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement by distributing decorative tin signs to consumers that featured its "Natural American Spirit" cigarettes brand name.
"We will continue to hold accountable any tobacco company that skirts the rules," McKenna said.
"The agreement the states reached with the tobacco companies ten years ago is clear: pro-cigarette promotional products aren't allowed."
According to the settlement, Santa Fe agrees not to distribute the following types of brand name merchandise in the future: decorative tin signs; toys; games; fashion accessories; CDs; DVDs; video games; clothing; athletic equipment; outdoor gear; luggage; stationery items; house wares; and paintings and plaques intended for the home. In addition, Santa Fe agrees to pay a penalty of $250 for every future violation of the agreement.
The MSA requires participating tobacco companies to make substantial annual payments in perpetuity to 52 states and territories, and imposes significant marketing and advertising restrictions. Since the MSA was signed, American consumption of cigarettes has declined by over 100 billion cigarettes, based on data from the American Lung Association. According to the Centers for Disease Control, however, tobacco-related diseases continue to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and result in more than $190 billion in annual medical expenses.
The states comprising the coalition include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.