For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: August 19, 2004
Vibo Joins Master Tobacco Settlement
(Boise) - Vibo Corporation of Miami, Florida, has joined the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA") as a participating manufacturer, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. Vibo, which does business as General Tobacco, sells a number of cigarette brands such as Bronco, GT One, Silver and Champion.
Given current market conditions, Vibo will pay $1.7 billion to the participating states over the next ten years. Idaho's share of the settlement will be approximately $6,175,474.
The MSA was entered into between 46 states and the major tobacco companies in November 1998. Since that time, more than 40 other companies have joined the MSA.
Participating manufacturers under the MSA are bound by a wide array of restrictions on advertising, promotion and marketing of cigarettes. Those restrictions include bans which target youth, outdoor advertising, and distribution of any merchandise advertising a cigarette brand. Youth smoking rates nationally have dropped by more than 25% and overall smoking has declined nearly 20% since the MSA took effect. Participating manufacturers make substantial payments to the states. As a result of today's agreement, Vibo will make an immediate payment of $78 million to the MSA states, and make full payments yearly. Vibo agreed to make quarterly payments of these obligations to the states.
"Vibo's decision to join the MSA is significant because the company represents the largest tobacco product manufacturer remaining outside the MSA," Attorney General Wasden said. "Vibo is the exclusive U.S. importer of cigarettes from Protabaco, S.A., of Bogota, Colombia. Today's agreement binds Protabaco to sell all of its cigarettes in the U.S. through Vibo and in accordance with the MSA."
Attorney General Wasden and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller are co-chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, which coordinates state enforcement of the MSA. "Vibo's agreement to join the MSA is a very important indicator of a growing recognition by companies outside the agreement that it is in their interest to observe the public health restrictions of the MSA. Persuading the largest cigarette company outside the MSA to join the Agreement represents a great achievement for the MSA States," Wasden and Miller said.
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