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Tobacco Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the MSA and for seeing that tobacco product manufacturers who have not signed the MSA comply with the Colorado Tobacco Escrow Funds Act.  Colorado has enacted legislation to further regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products.  Below are commonly asked questions regarding the tobacco master settlement agreement and enforcement.

Question or Topic Answer
What is the Master Settlement Agreement?

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) is an agreement between tobacco manufacturers, referred to as participating manufacturers (PMs) and 46 states, the District of Columbia and 5 U.S. Territories (the states) that puts restrictions on tobacco companies’ marketing practices and requires them to pay a projected $206 billion over 25-years to the states to compensate them for costs arising from the health problems caused by the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Where can I get a check for my emphysema from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) money?

Money from the MSA is paid to individual states to compensate the states for costs arising from health problems caused by the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products.  The money is not for individuals with tobacco-related health problems.  To get money for tobacco-related health problems, an individual would have to sue a tobacco manufacturer(s) directly.

Can the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) represent me in a private lawsuit against a tobacco company?

No, the OAG cannot represent individual citizens of the State of Colorado.  It can only represent state agencies.  You will have to hire a private attorney to represent you.  You can locate a private attorney through the Colorado Bar Association (CBA), the Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service or the El Paso Bar Association Referral Service.  To locate attorneys who may not be members of the CBA, try Martindale-Hubbel or CO Supreme Court Attorney Registration Attorney Search.

Is smokeless tobacco part of the MSA?

No, smokeless tobacco has its own master settlement agreement called the Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (STMSA).

Is it illegal to purchase tobacco over the Internet?

No, but you must pay the tax due on the cigarettes if the seller has not done so.  Unstamped and untaxed cigarettes are contraband and subject to confiscation by the state.

Where can I get more information about quitting smoking?

In Colorado, you can contact the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).  CDPHE sponsors the QuitLine, a free, telephone service for anyone calling from a Colorado area code.  You can receive personalized coaching and a free supply of the nicotine patch.  The Center for Disease Control provides links to national groups that can help you quit.  The links provided under Resources/Links can take you to other websites that provide information on quitting.

Should I contact the OAG when I see a Colorado smoking ban violation?

No.  Local district attorneys enforce the smoking ban not the OAG. Click here to learn more about your district or to contact your District Attorney.

What is a fire safe cigarette?

A fire-safe cigarette has a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended.  All cigarettes sold in Colorado or to Coloradoans must be fire safe.  Learn more about fire-safe cigarettes here.

Who is responsible for enforcing and monitoring tobacco sales to minors?

The Department of Revenue's Liquor Division Tobacco Enforcement Unit.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration