Hunt & Associates P.C.

Government and Cigarettes: The Partnership Continues

It’s ironic that at least some states are defending their records as protectors of large tobacco companies.  That, of course, is because when they settled their claims against the major cigarette manufacturers those states promised to diligently protect those companies from competition in exchange for the billions of dollars the companies offered to pay to the states.  It’s a partnership agreement which has accurately been described as “perverse.”  The companies agree to pay the states to protect the companies from competition so that both the companies and the states can jointly profit from the cigarette market.  How noble.

Now the companies contend with some success that states haven’t always kept up their side of the bargain. Thus, the companies argue, by the terms of their settlement agreement some states aren’t entitled to as much in payments as promised if those states had protected the companies as promised. In response the states are sometimes even hiring outside lawyers to defend their records protecting the major cigarette producers’ market share and profits and thus their right to the larger share of those profits from cigarette sales.  See this piece about the state of Pennsylvania’s efforts.

Unfortunately, few if any of those who argue for the states or who share the pleasure of spending the monies received from the settlement seem to think that there’s any humor or incongruity in extolling their efforts to protect the cigarette manufacturers’ market share and profits even as they virtuously proclaim “even one preventable cancer is too many”.

© 1/21/2014 Lawrence B. Hunt of Hunt & Associates, P.C.  All rights reserved.

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