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State receives extra tobacco money

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The Utah Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that the state received $42 million this week from its settlement with tobacco manufacturers.

The latest amount is about $14.5 million more than Utah's usual $27.5 million annual payment from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

"The extra $14 million represents the efforts by the Attorney General's Office to hold tobacco manufacturers accountable for the health care costs incurred by the state for smoking related illnesses," said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff in a statement released Thursday.

Tobacco manufacturers who have entered into the multi-state settlement agreement have been making lump sum payments to 46 states since 2000. An independent auditor determines the payment based on the manufacturers' market share of tobacco products in the U.S.

Shurtleff pointed out that the $42 million lump sum payment is equivalent to the AG's Office's entire annual budget.

The tobacco money is used to fund a number of programs, including the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), tobacco prevention and cessation programs, medical research at the University of Utah and drug courts.