Montana Department of Justice
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 June 16, 2017


The Tobacco Enforcement Program of the Montana Attorney General’s Office warns Montanans of the existence of an online promotion that misleads consumers into believing they are eligible to receive tobacco settlement monies.

The advertisements promote claims that individuals can sign up to receive thousands of dollars per month from the MSA. The advertisement, which promises a tax-free portion of the MSA, misleads consumers into believing they are eligible for guaranteed money backed by the government.  The reality is that at the end of the promotion the consumer is prompted to purchase a monthly subscription in order to learn more about how to receive these funds.  These funds are in effect generated by purchasing tobacco related bonds.  Consumers are warned that once the subscription is paid for by a credit card, it may be difficult to cancel the subscription and receive a refund.

In 1998, the MSA was signed by the four largest U.S. tobacco companies, 46 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. The settlement resolved several lawsuits against the tobacco industry for tobacco-related health care costs.  Despite the online promotion’s assertions, there is no mechanism or fund for private citizens to apply to the state of Montana to receive MSA payments.

If there are any questions, please contact the Tobacco Enforcement Program Staff at (406) 444-5858 or




The sale of tobacco products is a heavily regulated business in Montana. Wholesalers and retailers of tobacco products must comply with a variety of laws administered by several different agencies, the Department of Justice, Department of Revenue, and Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Only those tobacco products listed on the Tobacco Product Directory may be sold in Montana. It is unlawful to sell, stamp for sale, offer for sale or possess for sale in Montana any cigarette, roll-your-own tobacco (including make-your-own, stuff-your-own, etc.) unless it is listed on the Tobacco Product Directory. The Office of the Attorney General maintains a directory of tobacco products (cigarettes and roll-your-own) and manufacturers that are fully compliant with Montana law. Only those brands and brand families of cigarettes and roll-your-own that are listed in the Tobacco Product Directory can legally be stamped for sale, offered for sale, possessed for sale or sold in Montana.

Only cigarettes certified as fire safe by the State Fire Marshal may be sold in Montana. See Fire Safety Standards for Cigarettes. Businesses selling tobacco products in Montana must be licensed and pay tobacco taxes on the products they sell. The Department of Revenue administers the laws related to wholesaler and retailer licensing and taxation of tobacco products.

Directory of Tobacco Products (Cigarettes and Roll-Your-Own) Approved for Stamping or Sale, organized by:

Little Cigars – The Department of Revenue has adopted rules that classify certain “little cigars” as cigarettes for tax purposes. For more information, see Classification of Certain “Little Cigars” as Cigarettes. Little cigars that are treated as cigarettes for tax purposes may be sold even though they are not listed on the directory at this time.

Penalties – Any Montana licensed wholesaler who sells, stamps for sale, possesses for sale or offers to sell a brand that is not listed on the directory is subject to the penalties detailed in 16-11-509 of the Montana Code Annotated, up to and including: license revocation, seizure, forfeiture and destruction of contraband products, and loss of any profits or gain from a violation.

Regulatory Notices

The notices listed below are retained for historical purposes of notifications to wholesalers and retailers of tobacco products of the changes to statutes and administrative rules.

Tobacco Product Reporting

Montana-licensed wholesalers and retailers that purchase cigarettes and roll-your-own directly from the manufacturer must file a report listing the tobacco products stamped or sold each month with the Attorney General’s Office. The wholesaler report must be received by the Attorney General’s Office no later than the 15th of each month. A late fee is assessed for each report that is not filed by the 20th day of each month. This quick reference guide should assist the prospective and newly Montana-licensed wholesaler with tobacco product reporting. The July 1, 2007, Department of Revenue rule does not change the requirements for reporting little cigars to the Attorney General’s Office.

Participating Manufacturer Reporting – Section 16-11-503 of the Montana Code Annotated requires Participating Manufacturers (PMs) to certify by April 30 each year that they are a PM and provide a list of their brand families.

Tobacco Product Manufacturer Certificate of Compliance and Instructions

Non-Participating Manufacturer Reporting – Section 16-11-503 of the Montana Code Annotated requires Non-Participating Manufacturers (NPMs) to certify by April 30 each year that they are an NPM in full compliance with 16-11-403 and provide a list of their brand families. Some NPMs are required to pay escrow payments in quarterly installments and certify their compliance with Montana law quarterly.

Laws & Regulations

Montana’s Tobacco Products Reserve Fund:

Tobacco Settlement

Montana filed suit against “Big Tobacco” in May 1997 and the state was part of the national settlement reached by the attorneys general in November 1998. The state regularly receives payments as part of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). Prior to 2001, tobacco industry payments went directly into Montana’s general fund and were allocated by the legislature.

In November 2000, Montana voters approved Constitutional Amendment 35, which dedicated at least 40 percent of the tobacco settlement to a permanent, income-producing trust fund. Of the interest earned by this trust fund, 90 percent must be used for health care benefits, services, education programs and tobacco disease prevention. The remaining 10 percent is reinvested in the trust fund. From fiscal year 2001 to 2003, the larger share of the tobacco payments (60 percent) was deposited in the general fund and appropriated by the legislature.

Under Initiative 146 approved by voters in November 2002, and subsequent legislative changes in 2003, Montana’s tobacco settlement money is now distributed as follows:

  • 40 percent – Tobacco Trust Fund
  • 32 percent – Tobacco prevention/cessation and human service programs
  • 17 percent – Children’s Health Insurance Program, Comprehensive Health Association programs and Medicaid matching funds
  • 11 percent – General fund

Settlement Payments – Tobacco manufacturers that participated in the Master Settlement Agreement have made the following payments to the state of Montana. Payments received to date:

  • 12/14/99 – $10,487,422.74
  • 12/31/99 – $   9,135,039.11
  • 04/17/00 – $15,138,724.08
  • 01/02/01 – $  9,297,124.66
  • 04/16/01 – $17,048,116.69
  • 04/25/01 – $     256,941.21
  • 06/21/01 – $       24,692.41
  • 11/16/01 – $     210,696.72
  • 12/31/01 – $  8,257,042.89
  • 01/10/02 – $         2,401.51
  • 04/16/02 – $21,901,678.21
  • 04/23/02 – $    707,199.00
  • 12/31/02 – $   6,811,769.52
  • 01/10/03 – $  2,274,805.80
  • 04/15/03 – $ 21,724,541.34
  • 06/30/03 – $     354,901.76
  • 10/06/03 – $     268,019.99
  • 04/19/04 – $26,404,053.57
  • 08/27/04 – $     296,358.59
  • 04/15/05 – $25,834,420.03
  • 04/19/05 – $     939,924.84
  • 10/04/05 – $     304,110.38
  • 04/17/06 – $23,092,465.13
  • 04/19/06 – $  1,454,457.08
  • 12/21/06 – $      227,943.54
  • 04/16/07 – $23,981,410.74
  • 04/18/07 – $  1,601,193.76
  • 06/04/07 – $   200,960.64
  • 04/15/08 – $33,098,176.59
  • 04/17/08 – $  1,516,098.70
  • 03/12/09 – $  2,296,450.32
  • 04/15/09 – $34,940,252.51
  • 04/17/09 – $    287,016.00
  • 04/19/10 – $24,157,976.81
  • 04/17/10 – $  7,374,961.43
  • 04/15/11 – $22,903,746.79
  • 04/19/11 – $   6,721,153.12
  • 04/16/12 – $23,357,639.51
  • 04/18/12 – $ 6,845,096.19
  • 04/15/13 – $23,343,132.88
  • 04/17/13 – $  6,851,157.74
  • 04/16/14 – $31,943,687.08
  • 04/17/14 – $   1,198,048.01
  • 04/15/15 – $20,270,649.46
  • 04/17/15 – $  5,660,483.37
  • 04/29/15 – $  3,000,081.93
  • 05/13/15 – $      387,303.95
  • 04/18/16 – $30,649,504.33

   Total  $515,044,334.98

The payment figures do not include:

  1.   Payments into the Disputed Payments Account (DPA);
  2.   Payments to the Truth Initiative (formerly known as the American Legacy Foundation);
  3.   Payments made to the Previously Settled States (PSS);
  4.   Payments made under the Smokeless Master Settlement Agreement; or
  5.   Any other payments.

Financial Recovery for the States

  • Requires industry payments to the states in perpetuity, with payments totaling $206 billion through the year 2025.
    • Montana is slated to receive approximately $832 million through the year 2025 under this portion of the agreement.
  • Requires the companies to pay $861 million into a strategic contribution fund from April 2008 through April 2017, with the funds distributed to states based on a formula that reflects the contribution each state made toward resolving its individual lawsuit against the tobacco companies.
    • Montana is scheduled to receive an additional $90 million from this fund.

Truth Initiative (formerly known as The Foundation)

  • Requires the tobacco industry to pay $25 million each year for 10 years to fund a charitable foundation that will support the study of programs to reduce teen smoking and substance abuse and the prevention of diseases associated with tobacco use.
  • Requires the tobacco industry to fund a $1.45 billion national public education fund for tobacco control. The Truth Initiative began operation as the American Legacy Foundation in March 1999. For more information, visit the Truth Initiative’s website at

Targeting Youth

  • Prohibits the use of cartoon characters in advertising, promoting, packaging or labeling tobacco products.
  • Prohibits targeting youth in advertising, promotions or marketing.
  • Requires the tobacco industry to identify ways to reduce youth access to and consumption of tobacco.

Outdoor Advertising

  • Bans all outdoor tobacco product advertising, including billboards, signs and placards in arenas, stadiums, shopping malls and video game arcades.
  • Limits advertising outside retail establishments to 14 square feet.
  • Allows states to substitute, for the duration of billboard lease periods, alternative advertising that discourages youth smoking. In Montana, one Phillip Morris tobacco billboard was replaced with alternative advertising under the terms of the agreement. In addition, Lamar Outdoor Advertising of Billings donated another 10 billboards for anti-tobacco advertising.

Tobacco Merchandise

  • Bans distribution and sale of apparel and merchandise—such as caps, T-shirts and backpacks—that contain brand-name logos.

Product Placement and Sponsorship

  • Bans payments to promote tobacco products in movies, television shows, theater productions or live performances, live or recorded music performances, videos and video games.
  • Prohibits brand-name sponsorship of events with a significant youth audience or team sports, such as football, basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer.
  • Bans tobacco brand names for stadiums and arenas.
  • Limits tobacco companies to one brand-name sponsorship per year, after current contracts expire or after three years, whichever comes first.

Free Samples

  • Bans free samples except in a facility or enclosed area where the operator ensures no underage person is present.

Gifts Based on Purchases

  • Bans gifts without proof of age.

Dissolution of Tobacco-Related Organizations

  • Disbands the Council for Tobacco Research, the Tobacco Institute, and the Council for Indoor Air Research.
  • Provides regulation and oversight of new trade organizations.


  • Provides court jurisdiction for implementation and enforcement.
  • Imposes monetary, civil contempt, or criminal sanctions on any party found in violation of the court enforcement orders.
  • Allows settling Attorneys General access to company documents, records and personnel to enforce the agreement.
  • Directs the industry to pay $50 million to assist settling states in enforcing and implementing the agreement and to investigate and litigate potential violations of state tobacco laws.


  • Prohibits tobacco companies from opposing proposed state or local laws or administrative rules intended to limit youth access to and consumption of tobacco products.
  • Requires industry lobbyists to certify in writing that they have reviewed and will comply with the settlement terms.

Minimum Pack Size

  • Limits minimum pack size to 20 cigarettes through Dec. 31, 2001.
  • Prohibits tobacco companies from opposing state legislation that bans the manufacture and sale of packs containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.

Prohibition on Agreements to Suppress Research

  • Prohibits the industry from making any material misrepresentation about the health consequences of smoking.
  • Prohibits manufacturers from jointly contracting or conspiring to: limit information about the health hazards from the use of their products; limit or suppress research into the marketing or development of new products; or limit or suppress research into smoking and health.

Public Access to Documents and Court Files

  • Requires tobacco companies to open a website that includes all documents produced in state and other smoking and health-related lawsuits. The industry must maintain the site for 10 years in a user-friendly format.

Other Resources


Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.


Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.


Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.


Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.


Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.


Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.


Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and local and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.


Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department of Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.


Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.


Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.


Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.


Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.


Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.


Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.


Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.


Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.


Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.


Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.


Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.


Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.


Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.