Tobacco-Free Kids: Oklahoma Cigarette Tax Increase Is a Big Win for Kids and Health
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It is terrific news for Oklahoma's kids and health that the Legislature has approved - and Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law - a $1 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax. The cigarette tax increase is a win-win-win solution for Oklahoma - a health win that will reduce smoking and save lives, a financial win that will raise much-needed revenue and a political win that polls show is popular with voters. We applaud Gov. Fallin and legislative champions for their leadership in fighting tobacco use - the No. 1 cause of preventable death.
The evidence is clear that raising the price of cigarettes is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids. The $1 cigarette tax increase is projected to:
- Prevent 17,300 Oklahoma kids from becoming smokers
- Spur 18,700 current adult smokers to quit
- Save 10,200 Oklahomans from premature, smoking-caused deaths
- Save $767 million in future health care costs.
In addition to increasing the cigarette tax, Oklahoma must continue to invest in its highly effective tobacco prevention and cessation programs. These programs are funded through Oklahoma's Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, which was created by a voter-approved constitutional amendment that ensured the state's tobacco settlement funds were used for programs to reduce tobacco use and other health initiatives. Oklahoma must continue this smart investment, which has significantly reduced tobacco use and saved lives in the state.
While Oklahoma has made great progress, tobacco use still claims 7,500 lives and costs the state more than $1.6 billion in health care bills each year. In Oklahoma, 14.6 percent of high school students and 19.6 percent of adults still smoke. By increasing the cigarette tax and continuing to invest in tobacco prevention and cessation programs, Oklahoma can accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and improve the state's health for generations to come.