Oklahoma Gets Low Grades In Tobacco Control Report
TULSA, Oklahoma - The American Lung Association gives Oklahoma bad grades in its State of Tobacco Control report for 2017.
The group calls for Oklahoma state government to take three steps to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke:
1. Maintain dedicated funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs;
2. Increase the cigarette tax by at least a $1.00 per pack; and
3. Pass a comprehensive statewide smokefree law that protects all workers and patrons from secondhand smoke.
Here are the grades:
C: Tobacco prevention and cessation funding
D: Smokefree air
F: Tobacco taxes
B: Access to cessation services
F: Tobacco 21
The group says a lawmaker introduced a bill in the last legislative session to increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack. The bill passed through several committees before failing on the floor of the House of Representatives. The American Lung Association says a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax would provide big benefits to the state, including preventing nearly 32,000 Oklahoma kids from starting to smoke, prompting nearly as many adults to quit and preventing approximately 18,000 tobacco-related deaths.
The association says dedicated funding from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) remained intact for fiscal year 2017, and the amount of funding dedicated to tobacco prevention and cessation programs by TSET even increased by close to $1.5 million.