New Mexico sees big tobacco payments for smoking-related deaths fall to US$38.6M this year compared with US$40.9M in 2010

SANTA FE, New Mexico , November 1, 2011 () – Big Tobacco's payments to New Mexico for smoking-related deaths are declining.

The Las Cruces Sun-News ( reports that state economist Elisa Walker-Moran said New Mexico expects to receive $38.6 million from tobacco companies this year. That is down from $40.9 million in 2010.

Walker-Moran also projected that the amount of revenue from the tobacco settlement will be flat in the next few years.

Walker-Moran told a legislative committee that one reason for the decline is that tobacco companies subject to the agreement are losing market share.

But state Rep. Gail Chasey said lower payments were another example of how tobacco companies had maneuvered a mass settlement to their advantage.

She said tobacco companies that settled lawsuits with New Mexico and 45 other states are just taking advantage of market changes.

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