New Mexico gets record tobacco settlement payment

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico this year will receive the largest tobacco settlement payment it has ever received from the industry.

The state attorney general’s office made the $50 million announcement Tuesday, saying the payment includes an additional $14.5 million as a result of a court ruling in which the judge sided with New Mexico over allegations that the state had been shortchanged by the industry.

Attorney General Hector Balderas said the payment will ensure additional funds are funneled to public education and health programs.

The New Mexico Legislature decides how to spend the tobacco settlement money. The largest recipient is Medicaid, which provides access to health care for low-income individuals and families.

Other programs funded by the settlement money include cancer screening, smoking cessation and services for HIV patients.