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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)?

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a legal contract established between 46 states, including California, and five U.S. Territories, with participating tobacco manufacturers. The MSA provides numerous restrictions and prohibitions, including: bans on the use of cartoons in tobacco advertisements, youth exposure to sampling, certain sponsorships, and the use of most outdoor advertisements. See Resources for the Tobacco Settlement Summary, which includes a complete list of MSA restrictions.

Now that the lawsuit between the State of California and the tobacco industry has been settled, what will be the ongoing responsibilities of the Office of the Attorney General?

The Attorney General's Office has directed the Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement Section to administer the receipt and disbursements of settlement payments, enforce the MSA's tobacco company restrictions and prohibitions, and enforce other tobacco-related state laws.

I saw a tobacco billboard. Who do I report this to?

Contact the Attorney General's Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement Section. We can be reached on our Tobacco Complaint Line at (916) 565-6486 or use the Email Complaint Form so we can check out the situation and take appropriate action.

Where can I view tobacco industry documents?

You may find links to view tobacco industry documents by going to our Resources web page. The MSA requires the tobacco industry documents to be available for viewing until June 30, 2010 on websites maintained by all original participating tobacco manufacturers.

Can the Attorney General's office represent me in a private lawsuit against the tobacco industry?

No. The Attorney General cannot represent private individuals. You will have to hire a private attorney to represent you. One way to find an attorney is to contact your county's bar association lawyer referral service. Or, you may want to contact a branch of the Tobacco Control Resource Center (TCRC), the Tobacco Products Liability Project (TPLP), this group provides tobacco information and refers potential plaintiffs to attorneys. You can call them at (617) 373-2026 or click on the TCRC link in the Resources section.

Where can I get more information about quitting smoking?

There are a variety of websites available. The California Department of Health Services has information available by calling 1-800-NO-BUTTS or obtain state information at http://nobutts.ucsd.edu.

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