What is the Tobacco Settlement?

In 1998, forty-six states, including California, agreed to settle their lawsuits against the tobacco industry which were filed to recover the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. The participating tobacco companies agreed to pay the states an estimated $206 billion over the next 25 years. California is projected to receive an estimated $25 billion through 2025, and the funding stream continues into perpetuity. Santa Barbara County is projected to receive approximately $4 million per year ongoing.

In 1999, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors determined, in a unanimous decision, that the Tobacco Settlement funds would be spent on County health-related needs and programs. The Board created the Tobacco Settlement Advisory Committee (TSAC) and directed TSAC to present recommended allocations to the Board of Supervisors.

In 2008, the Tobacco Settlement Advisory Committee recommended that future tobacco settlement funding be allocated by the Public Health Director via the County budgeting process with input from a community forum. The Committee also recommended that the allocations remain consistent with the identified priority health areas. The recommendation was approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Committee dissolved in fiscal year 2007-2008.

During Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget hearings, the Board of Supervisors approved the recommendation to move management of the Tobacco Settlement funds, which have been committed to health, to the County Executive Office