HARTFORD, Conn. -- New Mexico-based Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company,the maker of Natural American Spirit tobacco products, has reached an agreement with 41 states -- including West Virginia -- to stop distributing a promotional sign that violates the 1998 tobacco settlement.
The decorative tin sign violates the law, which states tobacco companies are prohibited from using certain types of promotional materials including toys, games, fashion accessories, CDs, DVDS, video games, clothing, athletic equipment, outdoor gear, luggage, stationery items, housewares, and paintings and plaques intended for the home.
"These promotional signs are both a symbol and a symptom of slick pitches that show the tobacco industry unrepentant, still relying on marketing tactics to sell death and addiction," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.
Santa Fe agreed to pay a $250 fine per any future violation.
"This historic agreement bans slick signs and other pernicious promotions intended to make cigarettes seem cool. These merchants of death and disease depend on marketing to hook a new generation, enticing children and young adults with hip merchandise," Blumenthal said.
The 1998 agreement required tobacco companies to make annual payments to 52 states and territories. According to the American Lung Association, cigarette consumption in the United States has declined by over 100 billion cigarettes since the multi-state agreement.
Besides Connecticut and West Virginia, states participating in the Santa Fe settlement include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.