Tobacco Settlement: Fraud on the Public?

USA Today hammers state governments for using money from the 1998 multistate tobacco settlement on everything but tobacco-related illnesses and smoking prevention:

“With news cameras clicking a decade ago, state officials proudly touted their success in securing settlements worth $246 billion over 25 years from cigarette-makers. The money, the attorneys general vowed, would go to prevent smoking, particularly among teens.

Today, most of those promises have, so to speak, gone up in smoke.

States are spending their tobacco settlement money on everything . . . but smoking prevention.”

Meanwhile, trial lawyers hired by the states have received $15 billion (not million, billion) to date, even though some of them did little more than file copycat lawsuits.