A new report says Illinois is one of many states using only a small portion of the billions paid out by tobacco companies to fight smoking.  In 1998, four large tobacco companies agreed to make annual payments to the states in perpetuity to settle a lawsuit over tobacco-related health care costs. A report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says Illinois receives about $300 million a year from that settlement, but spends only $11.1 million on anti-smoking programs.
 
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“This is blood money,” said Kathy Drea, lobbyist for the American Lung Association of Illinois. “It was not supposed to be used to repair roads and buildings and all those other kinds of things. It was supposed to be used to help people quit smoking and to help prevent kids from starting.”  Drea believes this is what tobacco companies were hoping for when the settlement was reached, but the settlement did not make it mandatory for the money to be spent only on programs related to smoking.
 
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