When then-state Attorney General Mike Moore was the first to successfully sue Big Tobacco for its responsibility in smoking-related illnesses, it appeared Mississippi would lead the nation in such health issues.
After Mississippi received a $3.6 billion settlement from cigarette makers, Moore created the nonprofit Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi to handle the bulk of the state’s anti-tobacco initiative.
The nonprofit, which annually received $20 million as part of the settlement, was lauded as having one of the best programs in the nation for deterring schoolchildren from smoking and helping smokers to quit.
And the millions from the lawsuit were funneled into a public health care trust fund the Mississippi Legislature promised “would never be expended” in order to produce interest on the principle to pay for future health care needs of our children.
But somewhere, Mississippi got off track.