What The MSA has to do with the “Teen Vaping Epidemic” By: Machelle Blackmer

What The MSA has to do with the “Teen Vaping Epidemic”

By: Machelle Blackmer

Here is the simple math:

This is what the MSA has to do with the “Teen Vaping Epidemic”. Traditional Cigarette Sales are in decline. According to an Article by USA Today “Smoking reaching all-time low with US adults, government report shows” We are down to 14% of adult smokers from 16.8% in 2014 and teen smoking went from 16.7% in 2013  dropping to 9% in 2017. While vaping has increased from 3% of adults in 2014 to 5% of adults in 2018. However, youth vaping has jumped from 13.4% in 2014 to 20.8% of teens in 2018. 

16.8% 3% 16.7% 13.4%
14% 5% 9% 20.8%

ACTUAL CHANGE                    -2.8%                          +2%                     -7.7%                    +7.4%

Now, do you remember the MSA agreement I mentioned above?  If cigarette sales are dropping for both legal and illegal purchases and vaping is increasing for both legal and illegal purchases what is happening to the payments received by the states that are part of the MSA? They are decreasing.  I know you may not think this is a big percentage but just look at the number of cigarettes sold by Phillip Morris in 2017. 

Phillip Morris sold 249 Billion cigarettes in the US alone.  That is 12.450 Billion Packs of cigarettes at roughly $7.00 per pack equaling roughly $87.150 Billion. Not all of that is profit but when you look at a 2% reduction in cigarette sales for 2018 you are talking $1.743 Billion. None of that $1.743 Billion is being figured into the MSA payments percentage. It means that big Non-profits can expect a drop in the money they receive as part of the agreement.


American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),  American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Truth Initiative — filed a lawsuit in March 2018. All of these Associations receive payments from the MSA. This is not a conspiracy theory this is just a simple fact. If all of these organizations are losing money to the vaping industry by missing out on cigarette sales it explains why they are suing the FDA to rush guidelines and pull products off the market. This lawsuit is not in the public’s best interest, even according to The FDA. It is in the best interest of businesses and states receiving MSA payments. 


Where the Money Goes

The American Lung Association has used its MSA money to partially pay for establishing the Tobacco Quitline and Lung Helpline. Here nurses and other tobacco treatment specialists are available to help people quit smoking. They use “proven Methods” to assist you with quitting. This includes nicotine patches, nicotine gum, phone support, and the names of pharmaceuticals that “help you” quit smoking.

I tried very hard to find the exact amount of dollars The American Lung Association has received from MSA. Although they are great at grading states on the spending of the MSA payments these individual states receive, finding the documents with the dollar amounts The American Lung Association, The American Cancer Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, or American Heart Association received is not readily available. I am sure there is a document out there but, finding it even in the digital age of Google answer boxes is not as easy as it was for The Truth Initiative in my previous article.

To see how it all comes together and where else the money is going, check back next week for my final article in this 3 part series.


*The views and opinions expressed are the position of the author and do not represent any company or publication
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