In 1998, the Attorneys General of 46 states signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States to settle state suits and recover billions of dollars in costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses. Four states – Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Texas – settled their tobacco cases separately from the MSA states. A portion of the MSA proceeds funded the creation of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
The Tobacco Commission was created, as outlined in Section 3.2-3101, Code of Virginia, “as a body corporate and a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. The Commission is established for the purposes of determining the appropriate recipients of moneys in the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Fund and causing distribution of such moneys for the purposes provided in this chapter, including using moneys in the Fund to … revitalize tobacco-dependent communities.”