From Cash Crop to Cash Cow
Viscusi, W. Kip
The 1990s have witnessed a blizzard of antismoking efforts. Hillary Clinton and a variety of supporters of the Clinton health care plan urged dramatically higher cigarette taxes to pay for expanded health insurance efforts. And many state and local governments have imposed smoking restrictions or have undertaken antismoking ad campaigns. Those antismoking efforts recently culminated with a pro posed $368.5 billion settlement to address many liability and regulatory issues. The focal point of the bargain was the settlement of a series of lawsuits filed by the states against cigarette companies to recoup smoking-related Medicaid costs. Several state attorney generals composed the principal antismoking bargainers. Chief among them is Michael Moore, the Mississippi Attorney General who filed the first suit. The states argue that they must pay huge amounts of money to cover the higher health care costs of smoking.