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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2003
Gregoire announces settlement of tobacco payment disputes


Olympia - 6.18.03 - Attorney General Christine Gregoire said today Washington state will receive $1.7 million from tobacco companies in a new settlement between states and the industry.

Under the settlement the nation's tobacco manufacturers will pay the states $160 million. The bulk of the money will come from Brown & Williamson, the nation's third largest tobacco manufacturer.

Gregoire was lead negotiator of the 1998 tobacco settlement that requires the major tobacco companies to make annual payments to the states to offset the costs of tobacco use passed on to taxpayers. Payments for the first 25 years will amount to $206 billion.

Since the settlement there has been a dispute over payments to the states for cigarettes manufactured for other companies that refused to take part in the settlement.

Brown & Williamson has failed to make payments for cigarettes it manufactured for Star Tobacco, Inc., a company that refused to join the settlement. On behalf of the other states, the Attorney General of Vermont sued Brown & Williamson over the payments last December.

"We will insist on full payment from each and every tobacco maker," Gregoire said. "Taxpayers shouldn't be expected to shoulder the cost of tobacco use."

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