Master Settlement Agreement

In the 1990s, 46 states and several territories sued major tobacco companies to recover tobacco-related health care costs. In a settlement of these lawsuits, the states agreed to dismiss their claims. In exchange, the tobacco companies agreed to a series of marketing restrictions and to pay the states more than $200 billion over the first 25 years of the agreement. Specifically, the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) requires that participating tobacco companies (1) restrict their advertising, sponsorship, lobbying, and litigation activities, particularly those activities that are seen as targeting youth (including a ban on tobacco billboards and cartoon advertising and limits on event sponsorship); (2) dissolve three specific tobacco trade groups; (3) make public the documents that the participating tobacco companies had disclosed during the litigation; (4) fund an anti-tobacco education campaign through the creation of the American Legacy Foundation; and (5) make annual payments to the settling states forever.


Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) (1998).

  • United States
  • Nov 1, 1998
  • Various state and territorial courts



  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • State of Alabama
  • State of Alaska
  • State of Arizona
  • State of Arkansas
  • State of California
  • State of Colorado
  • State of Connecticut
  • State of Delaware
  • State of Georgia
  • State of Hawaii
  • State of Idaho
  • State of Illinois
  • State of Indiana
  • State of Iowa
  • State of Kansas
  • State of Louisiana
  • State of Maine
  • State of Maryland
  • State of Michigan
  • State of Missouri
  • State of Montana
  • State of Nebraska
  • State of Nevada
  • State of New Hampshire
  • State of New Jersey
  • State of New Mexico
  • State of New York
  • State of North Carolina
  • State of North Dakota
  • State of Ohio
  • State of Oklahoma
  • State of Oregon
  • State of Rhode Island
  • State of South Carolina
  • State of South Dakota
  • State of Tennessee
  • State of Utah
  • State of Vermont
  • State of Washington
  • State of West Virginia
  • State of Wisconsin
  • State of Wyoming
  • The Virgin Islands of the United States


  • Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
  • Commonwealth Brands
  • Liggett Group Inc.
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • Philip Morris Incorporated
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product