The Government's Addiction

The US government receives billions of dollars from
the tobacco industry... where does this money go?

A visualization by Kevin Chang

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government tobacco revenue breakdown

How much revenue comes from tobacco?

From 1998-2010, states collected $243.8 billion in tobacco-related revenue.

Where does this money come from?

The revenue comes from cigarette taxes and lawsuit settlement payments.

How much is from cigarette taxes?

Cigarette taxes account for 55% of all revenue. Lawsuit settlement payments from the Master Settlement Agreement, or MSA, account for the rest.

What is the MSA?

In the 1990s, 46 states and D.C. sued major cigarette companies for the recovery of health-care related costs.

What did the MSA entail?

Eventually, both parties settled on $206 billion to be paid over a 25-year period starting in 2000.

What was its primary purpose?

Its primary purpose was to decrease youth smoking, promote public health, and other tobacco control programs.

How much is spent on tobacco control?

From 1998-2010, only 3% of over $243 billion in tobacco-related revenue was spent on tobacco control programs such as mass media campaigns, comprehensive smoke-free policies, and teen education programs.

Tobacco Related Revenue
Tobacco Control Spending

How does it compare to tobacco marketing spending?

From 1998-2010, the tobacco industry has spent 12 to 20 times more on marketing than the government has spent on tobacco-control programs.

Tobacco Related Revenue
Tobacco Industry
Marketing Budget
Tobacco Control Spending

Mapping the Disparity

Below is a breakdown of tobacco control expenditures on a state-by-state basis.

  • percent of tobacco-related revenue spent on tobacco control
  • 0.4%-1.1%
  • 1.2%-2.8%
  • 2.9%-4.3%
  • 4.4%-6.9%
  • 7.0-15.4%
click a state to show information
$902.8 mil
$9.9 mil
of tobacco-related revenue is spent on tobacco control


All the tobacco-related revenue and tobacco control spending data found in this visualization was collected from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Tobacco Free Kids.

Tobacco industry marketing budget data was collected from the CDC.


Special thanks for guidance from Professor Matthew Kohrman and Professor Claudia Engel of Stanford University.

Additional thanks to Christopher Lopez for modeling for the background picture found in the first slide.