When it comes to smoking in Oklahoma, the news isn’t all bad. In 2011, the state ranked 7th in the nation in funding to prevent children from smoking and for helping smokers quit. The state currently spends $21.2 million per year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, a number that continues to grow each year. Thanks to this investment, Oklahoma’s high school smoking rate dropped from 33 percent in 1999 to 20.2 percent in 2009.
Unfortunately the news isn’t all good. Nearly one quarter of all adults in Oklahoma (23.7%) are active smokers. Each year, smoking kills approximately 6,200 adults, and more than 5,000 children or teens become addicted to smoking. More than 250 million packs of cigarettes are sold in Oklahoma each year, and the eventual consequences will be severe. According to current projections, more than 87,000 Oklahoma children who are currently alive will die prematurely from smoking. And while Oklahoma is a national leader in funding anti-smoking programs, the tobacco industry spends approximately $186 million per year marketing tobacco to Oklahomans, or about ten times as much as the state spends on anti-smoking efforts.
The economic impact of smoking in Oklahoma is staggering. Each year, smoking costs Oklahomans more than $1.16 billion in medical costs including $218 million in Medicaid alone. Every Oklahoma household pays an average of $550 per year in state and federal taxes to cover medical treatment for smoking – whether or not they smoke. Additionally, smoking results in more than $1.73 billion in lost worker productivity for Oklahoma employers. None of these figures account for the costs of diseases caused by secondhand smoke exposure or addiction to smokeless tobacco.
Oklahoma Tobacco Statistics at a Glance: