Tobacco Cos. Make Payments Under Pact to Help States with Smoking-related Healthcare Costs

The nation’s top cigarette companies have made their payments as part of the longstanding settlement in which some cigarette makers are paying states for smoking-related health care costs.

Philip Morris USA, the nation’s largest cigarette maker owned by Altria Group Inc., said Monday that it made its full annual payment of about $3.1 billion as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

The Richmond-based maker of Marlboro, Virginia Slims and Parliament cigarettes said the payment includes about $203 million that it says it doesn’t owe that was deposited into a separate account and will try to get back through negotiations or arbitration.

No. 2 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., owned by Reynolds American Inc., based in Winston-Salem, N.C., paid $1.84 billion this year. The maker of Camel, Pall Mall, Kool and other brands deposited a portion it disputes — $461 million — into a separate account, as allowed under the settlement.

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Source: The Washignton Post