In 1994, Mississippi filed litigation against the tobacco industry that resulted in a $4 billion settlement for the state. Inherent to the tobacco settlement agreement for Mississippi was a promise to fund prevention and cessation programs designed to reverse the trend of tobacco use in Mississippi. In 1997, Jackson County Chancery Judge William Myers approved an order placing $62 million in escrow for the state to develop a tobacco prevention pilot program. As directed by the court, Attorney General Mike Moore began assembling public and private organizations to discuss the best features for such a program. These organizations devised a plan that was presented to the court and approved in 1998. This plan resulted in the formation of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. At the conclusion of the pilot, approximately $20 million annually was court ordered to go directly to The Partnership from the state’s tobacco settlement. In addition to these funds, The Mississippi Department of Health received funds from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement to implement and enhance tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.
Governor Haley Barbour, the state Division of Medicaid, and the Health Care Trust Fund filed motions to vacate the December 2000 order and direct the $20 million away from tobacco prevention and into the Trust Fund. In May 2006, citing the lack of agreement between the legislative and executive branches regarding funding for tobacco prevention, the Jackson County Chancery Court granted the Governor and Treasurer’s motion, denying the tobacco prevention programs access to further funding. In June 2007, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the December 2006 order from the Jackson County Chancery Court that determined only the Mississippi Legislature could appropriate funds to tobacco prevention programs.
As of June 1, 2006, counter-marketing campaigns were no longer airing, and the college program for the 18 to 24-year-old market was ended. As of November 30, 2006, the Partnership ceased funding of cessation programs, including a statewide quitline and regional tobacco cessation treatment clinics, law enforcement program, and numerous statewide and after-school programs.
In 2007, SENATE BILL NO. 2764 called for the development, implementation, and funding of a comprehensive and statewide tobacco education, prevention, and cessation program that is consistent with the Best Practices for Tobacco Control Programs of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FY2008 allocated $8 million for the Office of Tobacco Control, MSDH, to create a state tobacco prevention and cessation program.
In March 2008, the MSDH Office of Tobacco Control requested proposals to provide surveillance and evaluation services for the comprehensive tobacco control program. The scope of work was to develop and implement a system of surveillance and evaluation for programs and services administered by the Office of Tobacco Control. This system of surveillance and evaluation was intended to monitor and provide short-term, intermediate and long-term intervention outcomes to influence program and policy direction, ensure accountability, and demonstrate effectiveness. The project was awarded to the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University on March 30, 2007.
1 Mississippi State Department of Health
2,3 Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids