Ohio Governor Snuffs out Ohio Anti-Smoking Foundation

Money bagsThe Ohio state legislature has seized $230 million from to the state's Tobacco Prevention Foundation and diverted it other uses. In the late 1990s, Ohio and other states sued the major tobacco companies to recover billions of dollars spent treating sick smokers. Tobacco companies settled the suit by signing the historical 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), and agreeing to pay billions out to the states. The tobacco companies and the National Association of Attorneys General originally claimed that the purpose of the MSA and its payments was to reduce smoking, but on May 7, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed a bill to abolish the state's Tobacco Prevention Foundation and confiscate most of its money. Legislators claimed the money was going to an economic stimulus package, but shutting down the Foundation caused the layoff of 27 advertising employees who handled the Foundation's anti-smoking ad campaigns.